NEW DELHI: A veteran of the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, for which he was awarded the Bir Bikram award for gallantry, Shamsher Mubin Chowdhury moved to the diplomatic corps after the war. After serving in missions around the world including as Deputy Chief of Mission/Minister in the Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing, High commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ambassador to Germany and Vietnam, he was appointed foreign secretary and then ambassador to the United States. With an insider’s perspective of relations with India from the time of Bangladesh’s birth in 1971, ambassador Chowdhury believes that despite some differences, it sets an example of good neighbourly relations for the rest of the world. While in New Delhi as a delegate for the Chanakya Defence Conclave, he took time out to discuss bilateral relations with Ramananda Sengupta on how India’s neighbourhood first policy had catapulted it to the next level, as well how Dhaka deals with China. He vehemently refuted arguments that there was better connectivity between the two countries in the 1960s,when Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan, and an Indian parliamentary panel report that alleged widespread illegal migration from Bangladesh into India continued unabated. He also felt that internal politics of Indian states should not dictate the country’s foreign policy, like Tamil Nadu did in the case of Sri Lanka and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s refusal to allow a Teesta water sharing accord, which if implemented, had the potential to take the Dhaka-Delhi relationship to an even higher level of friendship and collaboration.
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