20 September, 2020

Swim The Padma

Merely looking east won’t do. India now must hold Bangladesh’s gaze.

Swim The Padma

A 48-hour bandh call, sit-in demonstrations and street protests of the Opposition snowballing into a pitched battle with the police—these were the images Indian foreign minister S.M. Krishna faced as he landed in Dhaka on July 6 for a three-day visit. Usually bursting to the seams with teeming millions thronging noisy, congested streets, the near-desolate Dhaka that greeted him just didn’t provide an appropriate backdrop to propel India-Bangladesh relations on a higher trajectory.

But herein lies the twist, typically Bangladeshi—those who had taken to the streets were venting their anger against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, and not against Krishna or India. There were two distinct sections among the angry collective—opposition forces had rallied against Hasina’s decision to abrogate the constitutional clause that requires a caretaker government to oversee the general election; the other section was out there bemoaning the government’s lack of resolve to adequately bolster the secular foundation...



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