WASHINGTON: Taking seriously the concerns raised by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his recent White House meeting, US President Barack Obama has instructed his officials to “ramp up consultations” with India on the political crisis in Bangladesh.
Even though US officials have told New Delhi that they are “more comfortable” with Khaleda Zia-led opposition BNP, such a direction from Obama came after Singh personally raised concerns on the current political crisis in Bangladesh, in particular violence and growing radicalisation in the country which he argued poses threat to India and the region.
Sources told PTI that Obama took Singh’s concerns seriously and asked for increased discussions with India.
The issue was also discussed separately in detail by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and his American counterpart Susan Rice, sources said.
A recent visit to New Delhi by US envoy to Bangladesh Dan Mozena for consultations with top officials of the Ministry of External Affairs is part of these “ramped up” consultations.
“I have seen the press reports. It is for the Indians to define what their position is. From the US perspective I do not think there is any difference of opinion between the US and India,” another US official said.
During its recent meetings, the US has conveyed to India that it is interested in ensuring “free, fair and credible” elections and not bothered about the results of the upcoming general elections in Bangladesh.
“With respect to our support to democracy, the democratic processes, the US is not invested in an outcome in Bangladesh. But we are invested in a political process that leads to free, fair and credible elections and that’s our efforts are oriented towards and that’s our engagement with both political parties has been about and that’s what we have conveyed to our counterparts in the government of India as well,” the US officials said.
“I would think that that would be consistent with the position that the government of India would take,” the official said in response to a question on the differences between India and US on the issue of Bangladesh.
The official said it is for the Bangladeshi Government, the political parties to determine what the process is going to be.
“Our interest here is that there ought to be some consensus amongst political parties on mechanisms that are needed for elections to take place. We do think very strongly that there needs to be credible, free and fair elections,” the official said.
“For elections to be credible they need to include the participation of the key leading political parties. So there needs to be some agreement to reach – what that agreement is that for the political parties to determine, weather it is a caretaker government or something else it is for the political parties to determine. We do not have an opinion what that political arrangement would be.” Source: By PTI | 8 Nov, 2013, 01.30PM IST