You are here

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • Bangladesh War Crime Trial: The Surprise Second Verdict

    The verdict against Abdul Quadir Molla by the War Crime Tribunal 2, which sentenced him to life, came as a surprise to many given the graveness of his crime.

    February 12, 2013

    Prosecution of War Criminals in Bangladesh: The Verdict Starts Coming

    Punishing war criminals would not only meet a long-standing demand of Bangladesh’s freedom-fighters but also take the country further on the path of secularism.

    January 22, 2013

    Brinkmanship over the Padma Bridge

    The World Bank’s decision to withhold funding for the Padma Bridge embarrassed a government that has been doing reasonable work especially in checking extremism at a time when radicalism is sweeping many parts of the world.

    October 19, 2012

    Return from the Precipice: Bangladesh’s Fight Against Terrorism

    Return from the Precipice: Bangladesh’s Fight Against Terrorism
    • Publisher: Pentagon Security International

    The image of Bangladesh of being a ‘moderate Muslim country’ was tarnished at the turn of the 20th century. The country known for its Sufi Islam was witnessing a spurt of Islamic radicalism. While delineating the threat posed by Islamic radicalism to Bangladeshi politics and by Indian insurgent groups to Northeast India, the book also focuses on their sources of finance. This book marks an advance over other works on the same topic as it discusses the actions taken by the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League government to counter terrorism.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-697-8,
    • Price: ₹. 595/-
    • E-copy available

    Aravind asked: How can India justify its intervention in Bangladesh in 1971 when India was following a non-interventionist policy?

    P.K. Gautam and Keerthi Sampath Kumar reply: We give below one account on the justification of the 1971 war and creation of Bangladesh.

    The trouble began when the Pakistani Army on March 25, 1971, in complete disregard of the mandate of 1970 general election, launched a brutal crackdown on the civilians in East Pakistan which subsequently led to an insurgency. From March/April 1971, refugees started pouring into India and a situation was reached where it was not economically possible for India to continue to host about 10 million of them. Handling refugees and facing the ire of Washington which openly supported Pakistan, India was in a very precarious position. India had deep apprehensions concerning a long- drawn guerrilla war in East Pakistan with even pro- Chinese influence at a later date if it got protracted. India negotiated the friendship treaty with the then Soviet Union in August and undertook an extensive diplomatic-cum-political campaign to impress upon individual countries on the realities of the situation. The regional stability also was getting worst. Thus, it was in India’ national interest to get over the problem on grounds of humanitarian intervention. Pakistan launched an attack on the Western sector on December 3, 1971.

    Based on the legitimacy of self-defence, India undertook military action. While holding out in the Western sector, the Indian armed forces conducted combined operations with the freedom fighters or the Mukti Bahini and in a quick and decisive way ended the campaign in two weeks time with the surrender of Pakistan’s military in Bangladesh. The war also had the support of the people of India as there was a moral outrage and public sympathy in civil society including that of the French philosopher André Malraux and Seán MacBride of Ireland. Employing excellent diplomatic skills and negotiation strategy, India overcame a number of hurdles in the politics of the UN system during all stages. After the surrender of Pakistani troops, India did not allow UN’s role to be thrust upon it. India favoured only direct negotiations between itself, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It needs to be remembered that India never took undue advantage of over 90,000 Pakistani prisoners of war including civilians who were repatriated unilaterally after the Simla Agreement of 1972. According to the Indian tradition, the war was a dharmavijay (just war). In other words, it was jus ad bellum (the justice of resort to war) and its conduct jus in bello (the justice of the conduct of war).

    However historical memory should not lead to an unending bitterness. Issues such as war crimes and trial of guilty members of the Pakistan Army are still pending in Bangladesh. Justice also is due in view of continued ill treatment of innocent Biharis in Bangladesh who may have not sided with the Pakistan Army. Some Pakistanis due to one-sided perceptions may still carry a grudge and wish for revenge against India. Time has come for India not to rejoice crudely over its military success but now to seek better relations. That war was 41 years ago and violent conflict is unlikely to resolve issues in the present age.

    India’s Neighbourhood: Challenges in the Next Two Decades

    India’s Neighbourhood: Challenges in the Next Two Decades
    • Publisher: Pentagon Security International

    The chapters in the book take a prospective look at India's neighbourhood, as it may evolve by 2030. They underline the challenges that confront Indian policymakers, the opportunities that are likely to emerge, and the manner in which they should frame foreign and security policies for India, to maximise the gains and minimise the losses.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-687-9,
    • Price: ₹. 995/-
    • E-copy available

    Political Instability Could Derail the Growing US-Bangladesh Relationship

    The elevation of its bilateral relationship with Bangladesh allows the United States to counter China’s ‘String of Pearls’ strategy.

    May 21, 2012

    Sairam asked: Why do states like Bangladesh and Myanmar support insurgency in India?

    Anand Kumar replies: There is considerable change in the policy followed by both Bangladesh and Myanmar in supporting insurgency in northeast India. Bangladesh started supporting insurgency after 1975 when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the country, was killed in a coup on 15 August 1975. After his killing, right wing forces asserted themselves in Bangladesh. After a series of coups and counter coups, General Zia ur Rahman came to power. He reversed the policies followed by Mujib. He started following a policy that was hostile to India. One of the offshoots of his policy was the revival of support to northeast insurgents that was earlier taking place during the Pakistan rule. However, after coming to power in January 2009, Sheikh Hasina reversed this policy and is taking action against Indian insurgents groups who have been using Bangladeshi territory.

    As far as Myanmar is concerned, some misunderstanding was created in the Indo-Myanmarese relations after 1962. This prompted Myanmar to allow Indian insurgents to use its territory. Moreover, India’s border with Myanmar is densely forested which is used by insurgents sometime without the knowledge of Myanmarese authorities. However, in recent times, Myanmar government has taken several steps against Indian insurgent groups.

    Ashish asked: What is the impact of India’s emerging ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar on Chinese influence in north-east India?

    Namrata Goswami replies: One of the main impacts of India’s growing ties with Bangladesh is the easing of tensions with regard to demarcation of the border, especially in states like Tripura and Assam. Most importantly, states in the northeast want to increase connectivity by using the Chittagong port, which opens up a quicker access to the sea for them. India and Bangladesh have also collaborated on closing down northeast insurgent camps in Bangladesh, especially with regard to the ULFA. With Myanmar, India has developed a broad relationship of economic connectivity, trade, and political openness. Myanmar is also passing through political reform with Aung San Suu Kyi taking part in democratic elections. Democracy in Myanmar will further broaden its ability to be inclusive with regard to its ethnic minorities, who mostly live in the India-Myanmar border area. This in turn will strengthen existing India-Myanmar cooperation in fighting insurgencies in the region. That said, growing ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar, while strengthening connectivity of India’s northeast to the outside world, do not directly impact on China’s influence in the northeast, which is culturally minimal, to say the least. Most of the ethnic groups that migrated to the northeast from Yunnan in China are neither Han nor do they seek any great historical connection with the Chinese empire. Hence, given China’s limited influence, both politically and socially, India’s growing relationship with Bangladesh and Myanmar are significant by themselves and not as a counter to Chinese influence in the region.

    Analysing the failed Coup in Bangladesh

    The failed coup indicates the penetration of Islamists and more specifically that of the Hizb ut-Tahrir whose main support base is among the educated youth, who are highly motivated and belong to affluent families in urban areas.

    January 23, 2012