Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali has said his country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is yet to take a decision on whether to attend or not to attend the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit to be held in Pakistan capital Islamabad in November.
“Well as you know the SAARC Summit is a major SAARC event, and heads of governments normally attend this. So, if there is not enough participation of heads of governments, obviously you know that it did not get the full attention and full importance of the other member countries. So, we will see as we come to that particular situation. As of now, the SAARC Summit scheduled to be held in sometime in November and no final decision has been taken by our Prime Minister regarding her participation, but as soon as the decision is taken, I certainly can tell you,” Ali said.
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“My Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) is coming to India to attend the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit that would take place on October 16, only a few days from now, and she would have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I am sure that there would be a discussion on this. Perhaps, at the Goa event, our two Prime Ministers can also discuss regarding their attendance at the forthcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad,” Ali added.
When asked if he thought that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism was a major disruption in the region, the Bangladesh High Commissioner said, “In the Bangladeshi terrorist acts, we have so far investigated all aspects of the matter, and those are home-grown terrorists, but those were receiving support and assistance from abroad. But as regard to this particular cross-border terrorism (Uri), it is obvious that in that particular militarised zone nobody can come to this area without coming from the other side.
“So, basically we are exploring different options. As you know that the Government of India yesterday (Monday) discussed about various options that are on the table, and once the decisions are taken, I am sure, there will be high level consultations between the two Prime Ministers (PMs of India and Bangladesh).”
Reacting to the Uri terrorist attack, Ali said his prime Minister had on Monday in a message to Prime Minister Modi had categorically stated Bangladesh’s position and went on to quote Prime Minister Hasina as saying: “Bangladesh strongly condemns terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations in line with the zero tolerance policy against terrorism and violent extremism, Bangladesh firmly stands besides India at this difficult hour as a close friend and neighbour. We would continue to work together in our common endeavour to eradicate the menace of cross-border terrorism from this region and beyond.”
“So, basically, as I mentioned, she has very categorically condemned this act of terrorism and she has maintained that Bangladesh has zero tolerance policy towards terrorism, is the main basis on the basis of which we have been cooperating with our government and we are prepared to cooperate fully with the Government of India in our common drive to eradicate this particular menace,” Ali added.
When asked that India had decided to expose and isolate Pakistan globally and would Bangladesh join India in this endeavour, he said, “Both Bangladesh and India right now are engaged at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which is beginning Tuesday (today), and I think the General Assembly is the main forum where we voice all international concerns and we try to take joint action over there.
“Since my Prime Minister is already in New York and your Foreign Affairs Minister would also be there soon, I am sure there will be very high level of consultations, and we will act together at the UN.”
Asked what actions are required to be taken against terrorism, he said, “There are various options, which are on the table and Prime Minister Modi himself also considering various consequences and various implications of the various courses of action. So, it is quite possible that she (Prime Minister Hasina) might be able to take a comprehensive package of taking actions on several fronts. So, we will have to wait for a final decision to be taken on the matter, and then there will be high level consultations between us, but we are prepared to cooperate with India.”
Ali also expressed his deep condolences to the members of the bereaved families and whished wounded soldiers’ early and complete recovery.