RSS to join BJP leaders in interaction with Bangladesh AL
Peolples Time Desk
For the first time ever, leaders from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will join leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to interact with senior members of the ruling Awami League of Bangladesh. The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP and will be part of the dialogue for the first time.
The 10th round of the Bangladesh-India friendship dialogue is scheduled to be held from Friday February 18 in Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two neighbouring countries. One of the participants said that the interactive sessions had deliberately been scheduled in Shimla, to avoid the media glare inevitable in the Indian capital New Delhi.
Sources said that some of the contentious issues which both the countries are currently facing are likely to figure during the deliberations, so that misconceptions between them about the social unrest in both countries may be sorted out.
Besides the Minister of State for External affairs Rajkumar Singh, India has lined up senior BJP leaders and Members of Parliament for the discussion, along with office bearers of the government backed India Foundation, Asian Confluence and Vivekananda Foundation. The Indian delegation also includes the Editor of the RSS weekly magazine, The Organiser, which has been very vocal about some recent untoward incidents in Bangladesh against the minority communities. Member of Parliament Swapan Dasgupta, former minister M J Akbar and BJP Leader Ram Madhav are among the Indian delegates who will participate in the dialogue.
Meanwhile, authorities in Bangladesh were “amused” to see an allocation of Rs 300 crores for assistance to Bangladesh in the Indian Union budget of 2022-23. They pointed out that they have neither sought any assistance nor were they informed about the allocation. However, the bulk of whatever Lines of credit have been promised to Bangladesh by India have not been delivered, authoritative sources in Dhaka told this writer.
According to them, of the committed $8 billion, only one billion dollars has been released so far. The Bangladesh side wants to highlight some of the trade related tariff barriers which are hampering bilateral trade relations.
The Bangladesh Foundation for Regional Studies and the India Foundation are jointly organising the friendship dialogue. The two day dialogue will cover a wide range of issues including trade and investment, connectivity, technology, energy, regional security, extremism and people to people contacts.
The dialogue aims to review bilateral relations and further boost ties in various fields of cooperation between the two friendly countries, sources said.
No Indian diplomat is mentioned among the list of Indian participants, but the list of invitees include Bangladesh’s present High Commissioner Mohammed Imran, former High Commissioner Tariq Karim and former Foreign Secretary Shamsher Moben Chowdhury who, after retirement from the post, initially joined the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and later changed allegiance and moved to the ruling Awami League.
The Bangladesh delegation also includes members of the ruling Awami League like AL Presidium member Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Mirza Azam MP, Asim Ukil MP and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam.