India made clear to US that elections are Bangladesh’s ‘domestic matter’

Indian foreign secretary faces questions about US’ concern over Bangladesh’s upcoming election and China’s influence on the country after Jaishankar-Blinken talks in New Delhi

Published : 10 Nov 2023, 02:18 PM
Updated : 10 Nov 2023, 02:18 PM

India has been “very clear” to the US in different discussions that developments and elections are Bangladesh’s “domestic matter”, its Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra has said.

Kwatra faced questions about US’ concern over Bangladesh’s upcoming general election and China’s influence on the country in India-US discussions after a meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in New Delhi on Friday as the US is stepping up efforts to counter China’s influence on the Indo-Pacific region.

With Bangladesh’s national election less than two months away, China on several occasions has said it will not interfere in its internal affairs, including polls.

Beijing also said it will help Bangladesh deter external influences.

But the US has raised questions about fairness of polls in Bangladesh and imposed visa restrictions on Bangladeshis who undermine the democratic election process, besides sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion over “violation of human rights”.

The position of India, which helped Bangladesh gain independence from Pakistan in 1971 and is now a major supplier of food products and fuel to its neighbour, is seen as significant in Bangladesh’s politics, along with China and the US’ stance.

“We were very clear in sharing our perspective, how we look up situation in different parts of the world that includes Bangladesh with the US side during these discussions,” said Kwatra.

He said extensive discussions took place on different regional developments in South Asia, and in other parts of the world.

“So far as Bangladesh is concerned,” Kwatra went on, “we shared our perspective very clearly. It is not our space to comment on the policy of a third country.

“I think when it comes to developments in Bangladesh, elections in Bangladesh, it’s their domestic matter. It is for the people of Bangladesh to decide their future,” continued the Indian foreign secretary.

“We, as a close friend and partner of Bangladesh, respect the democratic processes in Bangladesh and we will continue to support that country’s vision of a stable, peaceful and progressive nation that the people of that country seek for themselves.”