In the latest strain in ties between New Delhi and Dhaka, onions have taken centre stage.
Bangladesh has officially conveyed its “deep concern” over India’s abrupt decision to ban the export of onions. This has been communicated through a note verbale by the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry to the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen Thursday said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is very “repentant” for not informing Bangladesh beforehand while imposing a ban on onion exports.
“I heard that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is very repentant. Because they didn’t know about the sudden ban,” he told reporters at his office, soon after his return from Turkey.
Bangladesh expects a positive outcome regarding its request to withdraw the ban on onion export soon, sources said.
Momen said that there was an understanding between the two countries that information would be conveyed in advance when it comes to such steps. It would have been better had Bangladesh been informed about the abrupt decision beforehand, he said.
According to estimates, Bangladesh’s monthly requirement of onions is about 2 lakh tonnes. The country has a stock of around 5.6 lakh tonnes of the bulb and import of 11,000 tonnes is under process, authorities in Dhaka said.
Bangladesh has reached out to Turkey to compensate for the onion shortage that may be caused by India’s ban.
Earlier, Bangladesh shared its “deep concern” with India at the sudden ban, which comes after discussions in October last year and January this year.
The latest abrupt announcement of the Government of India “undermines” the discussions that took place in 2019 and 2020 between the two friendly countries on the matter and the understanding shared, the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to Indian High Commission in Dhaka on September 15.
The letter said that the Bangladesh side, during the meeting, had requested India to inform Dhaka “ahead of time” in case of any event necessitating such a restriction.
Bangladesh referred to the commerce secretary-level meeting between the two countries on January 15-16, 2020, and VVIP visit to India in October last year.
Last October, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had lamented India’s ban on onion exports.
“I wish you had informed us before suddenly putting a halt in export of onions. I had to tell my cook I have no other option but to have my food without onions. I would request India to please inform us beforehand while taking such an action. After all, we are neighbours,” the Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina had said in Hindi at a programme in India.
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