Dhaka – Dhaka does not want to see any situation in Delhi that could affect Bangladesh’s secular social fabrics, Prime Minister’s international affairs adviser Professor Gowher Rizvi said on Monday.
“Our commitment to secularism is absolutely central and we do not want to see any situation where our secularism is threatened anyway,” he told a seminar in Dhaka organized jointly by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and the Indian High Commission.
Indian External Affairs Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who arrived in Dhaka on Monday, joined the seminar titled “Bangladesh and India: A promising Future and presented the keynote speech.
Rizvi’s comment came in the heels of a series of riots in the Indian capital last week that killed more than 40 people. Most of the targets of the Delhi attacks were minority Muslims.
A former senior faculty of Harvard and Oxford, Rezvi expressed Dhaka’s willingness for continued close cooperation with India to ensure that “our secularity in society grows from strength to strength”.
He said minorities in Bangladesh were “absolutely equal citizens” with government attaching highest priority in protecting and addressing their rights and issues and there was no way Bangladesh would ignore a situation when minorities were affected in any possible way.
Rizvi described India’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue as a burning one but expected it to remain as an internal or domestic affair of the neighbouring country as stated repeatedly by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi having no impact on Bangladesh.
“We have accepted that (repeated assurance) and we have good reasons to believe that we should not worry,” he said.
But Rizvi said he was unhappy with the existing pace of progress in resolving the outstanding issues which “we have agreed previously” fearing that “opportunities to be lost by the delay could be costly”.
“It is in our interests, it is to our benefit just as it is to India’s benefit and there is no issues that cannot be resolved,” he observed.
He expressed his satisfaction that the process of water sharing of transboundary rives have been resumed and insisted on expediting the process and simultaneously expected the disbursement of Indian’s pledged line of credit to Bangladesh would be quickened as well.
“We need to take fresh look and dream of articulating new vision how far Bangladesh and India can go,” he said.