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Dr Singh's visit a failure: B'desh main opposition

September 08, 2011 18:22 IST
Bangladesh's main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Thursday called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Dhaka visit largely "a failure" due to "weak diplomacy" of the Hasina government, while the mainstream media said the deferring of the Teesta water-sharing pact dealt a "severe blow" to bilateral ties.

"Even though the government terms the visit historic, Bangladesh did not get anything worthwhile," BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a press briefing, a day after Dr Singh concluded his maiden visit to the country. He said BNP wanted to blame Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government for "weak diplomacy".

"The trip became a failure because of the government's diplomatic inability coupled with lack of coordination and efficiency, and its closed-mindedness. The trust between the two countries has been troubled and the people have been disheartened," Alamgir said.

However, several senior government leaders declined to call the outcome of the visit frustrating, particularly referring to the protocol on the 1974 land boundary agreement that is expected to resolve all frontier-related issues. Finance minister AMA Muhith told newsmen that Dhaka expected the postponed Teesta deal to be inked in next three months.

Most of the newspapers, however, highlighted Dr Singh's regret over the failure to sign the crucial water-sharing deal. The Daily Star carried an editorial titled 'Lessons from Dhaka summit: It's the process that comes under question', saying the long-term and short-term fallout from the less than expected success of the Hasina-Manmohan summit will take some time to be gauged. "But there is no hiding from the fact that failure to agree on the most important item of the agenda (Teesta) has dealt a severe blow to the prospect of growth of our bilateral relations," the paper said.

The New Age newspaper also published an editorial titled  'The diplomatic debacle and lessons for government to learn'. "The two-day visit of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in all practical purposes, proved to be an anti-climax, anything but a diplomatic jackpot or a watershed in Bangladesh-India relations that the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government has sought to hype it up to be in the past months or so," it said.

The mass-circulated Prothom Alo published its main front page report with a title 'India gets a new message', saying New Delhi now got a message that transit that they desperately sought to get from Bangladesh could be possible only if they seriously consider Bangladesh's interests.

Noted financial analyst Debapriya Bhatacharya wrote in the same newspaper that "the warmth of relations and the outcome of the visit are inconsistence." The pro-opposition Amar Desh newspaper, however, headlined its main report 'Dhaka-New Delhi Ties get new dimension with 65-point joint statement' but in another report said, "Experts seek to examine if the Framework Agreement was identical to the Mujib-Indira slavery pact."

The Jugantor newspaper headlined its main report as 'Manmohan's Dhaka tour is a failure' while Manavjamin headlined its main report as "Not history, frustration eventually", referring to the previous expectations from the tour.

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