South Asia and Beyond

‘The Bangladesh Army Is Politically Aware, Officers And Men Have Political Ambitions’

NEW DELHI: As Bangladesh heads for elections later this year or early next, could the army play a role?  The question may not seem relevant given how it has played by the rules for the last 30 years, but former intelligence officer Shantanu Mukharji, believes the army remains a highly politicised force and therefore must be closely watched. In this interview on The Gist, Mukharji acknowledges that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has done much to keep the army on her side with regular visits to cantonments. Army Chief Gen Shafiuddin Ahmad was also a careful pick given his family’s freedom fighter background. Even so, it’s hard to tell what can trigger the army to turn on the civilian establishment. Very likely there are forces within the political class who would seek to manipulate the army for their own ends.  Religious groups may try to appeal to the sentiments of the rank and file. India therefore, at all times, must remain alert to such movies and seek to nip them in the bud. Tune in for more in this chat with Shantanu Mukharji.

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