South Asia and Beyond

‘Abdul Momen Has An Undiplomatic Streak In Him And He Has Embarrassed Delhi And Dhaka’

NEW DELHI: Is it India’s job to keep Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in power? Recent remarks by the latter country’s foreign minister Abdul Momen, make no bones about that. Did he misspeak? Was something lost in translation? Or was it some political signalling by Dhaka ahead of Hasina’s visit to India next month?

In this chat on StratNewsGlobal, Ayesha Kabir, editor of Prathom Alo, an English language paper in Dhaka, says that Momen’s comments have seriously embarrassed the government. There are many voices critical of him although nothing official has come out. The Hindu minority is also incensed, upset that by making those remarks at a Janamashtami event, Momen has painted them as India supporters.

Delhi too is embarrassed at the implication that it is involved in Bangladesh’s internal affairs. The concern is Momen’s comments could be used by Islamist groups to target India and communalise the issue. But so far Delhi has refrained from any comment.

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To be sure, Momen is known to be undiplomatic and has a history of foot in mouth comments. But with Hasina due in Delhi in a matter of weeks, and many bilateral issues pending, this is one controversy both capitals could do without.

Tune in for more in this conversation with Ayesha Kabir.