Forget past, let’s move ahead! This was the central message of Bangladesh’s former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia during her visit to India this week. In an attempt to build bridges with Bangladesh’s powerful leader, known for patronizing anti-India elements during her stint in power, India rolled out the red carpet for her. During her conversation with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Zia is understood to have said: “Let’s look forward, and not in the rear-view mirror.” Zia, whose stints in power saw troubled relations with New Delhi, also assured India that the Bangladeshi territory will not be allowed to be used by anti-India insurgents. Zia is widely speculated to return to power after the elections in Bangaldesh, likely next year.
Zia’s visit marks an important advance in India’s efforts to reach out to Bangladesh’s chief opposition party as Zia was widely seen to have patronized and encouraged anti-India elements and rebels from the northeast sheltering in the Bangladeshi territory during her time in power. India signed a clutch of anti-terror and security-related agreements with Bangladesh during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi over two years ago, which heralded a new dawn in bilateral relations.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.