Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said at the Janmashtami ceremony in Chittagong last Thursday, he requested to go to India and do ‘whatever is necessary’ to sustain the present government. The foreign minister’s statement before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India next month has caused widespread reactions in various quarters. According to former diplomats and analysts, the foreign minister’s statement is not only embarrassing for the diplomats of the two countries, but it is a disgrace to the country.
The foreign minister’s speech has also created a controversy in the country’s politics. Strong reactions and anger have been expressed on behalf of various parties. Many have said that it has damaged the image of the country.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader also highlighted the position of the party and the government while speaking at an event in Dhaka on Friday. He said the government has not assigned anyone to urge India to retain power. Awami League did not make such a request. Foreign Minister’s statement is his personal opinion.
On the same day, the foreign minister was questioned by reporters in Tungipara, Gopalganj. Explaining his statement of the previous day, he said, ‘I said, we want Sheikh Hasina to have stability. We will be very happy if you (India) help in this regard.’
Diplomats and international relations analysts say that any comments made by a cabinet member cannot be considered personal. Any minister’s statement will be considered as the government’s statement. According to analysts, India’s closeness with the current government is not unknown. Especially in the one-sided election of 2014 as well as in the questionable election of 2018, India had direct support to Awami League. Everyone knows that it would have been difficult for Awami League to handle the situation without India’s support in the 2014 elections. Diplomats feel that if there was any discussion about India’s support and closeness, it was not right to bring it to the public. The foreign minister’s unsolicited comments will create an embarrassing situation for the diplomats of the two countries.
Former Foreign Secretary. Tauhid Hossain told Prothom Alo yesterday evening, “It seems that he (Abdul Momen) does not understand what can be said and what cannot be said.” Word choice matters in diplomatic relations. In this case, he is consistently showing failure. He said, India wants a friendly government in Bangladesh. Considering that Awami League is reliable to India, it is clear. In this context, it is not understandable why such a request was made to India. If he has made any request to India, then he has done wrong. And if he said it, it was not right to say it publicly.
Several diplomats told this reporter on the condition of anonymity that the United States has imposed sanctions on the RAB and seven former and current senior officers of the force for serious human rights violations. India is also trying to lift the ban on RAB at the request of Bangladesh. The request to neighboring countries to lift the US sanctions was revealed by the foreign minister to the media last April; Which has created discomfort for India. Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar was asked about this by journalists during his visit to Dhaka last April. Jaishankar’s answer was, “The question is rather Dr. Do it to Momen.
However, the reaction to Abdul Momen’s speech last Thursday exceeded any time in the past. He said he requested India to do “whatever is necessary” to sustain the current government ahead of the national elections. He made this statement at a time when the two countries are preparing for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Delhi next month.
Regarding the foreign minister’s statement, M. Humayun Kabir, the former ambassador of Bangladesh in Washington, told Prothom Alo that he has been saying such incoherent words about neighboring countries like India since the beginning. Such statements are disgraceful for the country. Needless to say, these statements are creating an embarrassing situation for the diplomats of the two countries. And it is not difficult to understand that the foreign minister is not saying these things thoughtfully.
This reporter talked to a few domestic and foreign diplomats in various responsibilities about the reaction to the foreign minister’s latest speech. According to them, there is no opportunity to take these comments of the foreign minister lightly. Sophistication is missing in his comments. At a time when Bangladesh is going to rise to another level economically, the lack of capacity of the country is revealed from the foreign minister’s unbridled speech. At the same time, there are doubts about the image of the country.