Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Illegal migration not a bilateral conflict
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni speaks to Barkha Dutt, an Indian television journalist and Group Editor with NDTV on the issue of migration fromBarkha Dutt: This session of Parliament might well see the UPA government seeking a ratification of the land boundary agreement with
Barkha Dutt: Let me start by asking you, there was so much expectation of the Teesta Accord coming through between
India and , the two Governments, of
course, reached a consensus. And then domestic politics within Bangladesh , in a
sense, played obstacle. How seriously could this issue impact the larger
relationship between India Delhi and Dhaka?
Barkha Dutt: Since then she has made statements that there is not enough water for
Dr Moni: Well, she said, she gave me her views and, obviously, I gave our view, which is, it is a common river, it is a common river, and there are rights of many, many people. And it's not the question of someone giving it to another; one person giving it to another, it's sharing. And if we have less water, we will share that lesser amount. It's all about sharing and between two neighbours, that's what we need to do.
Barkha Dutt: The transit-rights' issue that
India and Bangladesh
have been trying to work out for to have faster access to
parts of its own country in the East. How much of that is based on a reciprocal
understanding that Teesta will be delivered by India . And don't give me the diplomat's
answer; give me the real answer. Delhi
Dr Moni: We are, we are, working on the transit issue because it is a very big issue; because it consists of the road transit, the rail transit and also the water transit. So we have, actually, engaged a task force, a core committee, which looked at the whole issue; and, because this is new for us, we tried to look at other comparable situations in other parts of the world, and have come up with a, a, framework and we are now looking at what we need in terms of infrastructure, in terms of legal, what do I call it ...
Dr Moni: See, at the same time, even during the Indian Law Minister's visit to Bangladesh, he was representing India in our celebration of 90 years bijoy, of Kazi Nazrul Islam, and he also had Members of Parliament belonging to the Opposition and they all spoke in one voice about being good neighbours and good friends with Bangladesh; and they did talk about the foreign policy of India, being something where they all come together. If a government has promised something to a neighbour or to another country, that, irrespective to whether someone is in opposition or in office, they would be supported. So, that was the, that was the understanding given to us by, as recently as I would say, two months ago. And the other thing is that this is something that has remained as an unresolved issue between the two countries for quite some time. And both countries are looking forward to resolving those long-pending issues and, I believe,
India is as eager
is in resolving these issues. So, I hope that it is done soon. Bangladesh
Dr Moni: Migration happened, so these are also some factual, some legal questions, so I wouldn't like to comment on that.
Barkha Dutt: But you know that, just at a humanitarian basis, one of the things that could come up, because this debate is happening in India right now, and the international debate is on Bangladesh's refusal to take in refugees from Burma, the Rohingyas; and, therefore, a number of people will say that of course, the humanitarian refuge was given to mass migration in, in for example, 1971. But then, shouldn't
be doing the same for
the Rohingyas today? And if it isn't, then why isn't it understanding that
political parties are objecting to Bangladeshi migration? Bangladesh
Dr Moni: You see, Rohingyas coming into
that also has a history. And that is very different. Bangladesh
Barkha Dutt: Okay...
Barkha Dutt: One of the other irritants between
India and are the border killings.
It has been, what the Border Security Force in Bangladesh will say, or smugglers or
criminals or infiltrators will say, your government has been told that even if
they are criminals, arrest them, but you have argued that they are being fired
upon indiscriminately. Is this an issue that is now resolved? India
Barkha Dutt: So do you mean this casts a longer shadow than most other issues?
Dr Moni: Well, it comes once in a while.
Barkha Dutt: There was a reference to it in her speech in the People's Empowerment Conference.
Dr Moni: Yes, and she believes in it. That is why there are so many of us in the Parliament, in the cabinet, in the party. And as I said, yes, sometimes we also feel, sort of not always, at times also I think it's also great, I would say most of the time it's great being a woman.
Barkha Dutt: Well, most of the time. It's a great pleasure talking to you.
Dr Moni: Thank you. Wonderful talking to you.
Barkha Dutt: Thank you so much.
Full transcript of the interview in NDTV, August 08, 2012