Mohammad Zainal Abedin: The instant inspiration of writing this article is the timely proposed resolutions introduced in the US House of Representatives on March 16 (2021) commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. I appreciate America’s latest initiative, which according to my understanding, has far-reaching consequences.
It is an irony of fate that Bangladesh borders with such a hawkish country, that outwardly claims it as a so-called ‘blood-bond friend’, but clandestinely a dangerous foe. India frustrated us because India used us its tools for its self-interest.
As soon as we reached India, it to divide and rule us breached the solid unity of the freedom fighters to put pressure on the exile government in India, to compel it to sign a subservient treaty to keep Bangladesh under its occupation when it would be liberated.
The people of Bangladesh went on a bloody war to achieve their independence to enjoy democracy and end foreign domination and exploitation.
But India appeared before us as a cruel and worse betrayer and exploiter, but superseded the British imperialist in all fields and paled the Pakistani exploitation of 23 years just within less than a year in 1971.
During the liberation war India misappropriated the lion’s share of the assistance, foods, medicines, housing materials, daily necessaries, even arms and explosive donated by the foreign countries and international agencies, including UN.
India since 1971 exposing its ugly face emerged as a foe. It shattered the hopes and aspirations of the Bangladeshis through varieties of cunning designs.
India was always scared of Sheikh Mujib for its territorial integrity. Such a popular leader on its next might emerge as a threat to India and implement its longstanding design of Akhand Bharat. So Indian policymakers opted to weaken the newly installed government so that it could gradually dominate it to implement its long-term hidden intrigues. It deterred the new government from taking independent external and internal policies defying India’s clandestine long-term agenda centering Bangladesh. India divided Mujib’s followers and within a year floated a counterparty that was a heavy blow on his administration even personality. India printed fake paper currency of Bangladesh to create inflation, let loose smuggling from and to Bangladesh, created clandestine armed groups to destabilize social life and destroyed the economy setting fire on mills and factories, removed the academic atmosphere from educational institutions, and instigated him to turn Bangladesh under one-party rule. All these were ruinous for sky-high popularity, which isolated him from the common people who broke Pakistan to empower him as their Prime Minister. He also lost his international credibility and acceptability. India transformed a hero to a villain.
Still, to destabilize Bangladesh India enjoying the support of its mentor ‘the defunct Soviet Union staged a military coup to kill him, but cunningly blamed the western democracies, including Pakistan, for such gruesome evil deeds.
Later staging coup after coup Indira Gandhi killed President Ziaur Rahman, the last patriotic and popular leader, who had also acceptability around the world. His assassination eased the way for India to expand its paw in Bangladesh to wither away democracy creating anarchic bloody situation installed Sheikh Hasina in power in 2009.
India destroyed democracy in Bangladesh turned it to a showy mockery and drama among the pro-India elements, who are less than 20 percent of the total population. RAW agents now beset all over Bangladesh. They supervise and control from urban to remote villages. They frame educational syllabus and control examinations.
India using the government and its agencies launches a proxy war against the political parties and patriotic young generation of Bangladesh who are desperate to protect their country from Indian paw.
These groups of people are baselessly branded as Islamic militants who demand democratic rights and end one-party rule. Many of them were killed, kidnapped, missed, tortured, and jailed. Custodial death, death in jail, or encounter frequently occur in Bangladesh. If an international investigation is conducted to find out the extent of extrajudicial and deliberate killings (since 2009) it will expose horrible stories. India is solely responsible for such mass killing, as India wants those to survive in Bangladesh who are submissive to India and welcome the one-party one-man rule imposed by India to finally merge Bangladesh with it.
India has already used Sheikh Hasina signing so many pacts, agreements, treaties or MoUs (Memorandum of Understandings) that, according to the analysts and observers, if India is not bridled, Bangladesh will be turned to defunct Sikkim.
The Sheikh Hasina government for its continuation or reelection depends not on people, rather in India, as it is isolated from the people. Availing such isolation, India compelled Hasina to sign numerous monopolized controversial treaties that are entirely advantageous to India at the cost of Bangladesh, violating even her father’s foreign policy.
Bangladeshis feel American friendship with India is a curse for the separate existence, sovereignty, and independence of Bangladesh. It encourages India to establish itself as master of smaller countries in the South Asian region.
Bangladeshis strongly believe India dares to impose autocracy on Bangladesh and to turns it to its satellite using American friendship. So, America should stop it and can play a vital role in restoring democracy in Bangladesh that will help preserve human rights, freedom of speech and press, dignity of women and end religious persecution and all other violence.
Being frustrated Bangladeshis who are inherently and psychologically inclined to America, now consider China as more reliable power to secure their independence and save Bangladesh from paw of India. I believe the Biden administration proceeds to that direction, which was ventilated in the historical resolutions.
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence historical resolutions were introduced in the US House of Representative on March 16, 2021 that recognize, “—the region of Bengal in South Asia is home to an ancient civilization with a rich cultural and literary tradition”; “— the 1947 partition of India created an East Bengal province,—-became East Pakistan”; “—on March 26, 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Bangladesh’s independence from West Pakistan”; (This is an information gap. The people of the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, on the following day heard the voice of late President Ziaur Rahman, who declared the independence of Bangladesh. All international media, including Voice of America, BBC, etc., covered the same. If Sheikh Mujib did it from West Pakistan, it remained unknown and uncovered.)
Another resolution says, “— in December 1971, following a nine-month long war that resulted in millions of displaced people and deaths, the Pakistani Army surrendered to Indian and Bangladeshi allied forces.” (This resolution is unique and totally denounces India’s falsity that Bangladesh War of Liberation was a war between India and Pakistan. This resolution testifies that India’s claim is untrue. India without our invitation voluntarily came to assist us when we, the freedom fighters, drove away the Pakistani forces out of the rural areas and small towns and compelled them to confine and take shelter inside the cantonments and major cities. India committed another falsity claiming that Pakistan defense forces surrendered to Indian forces, which is not true. Proposed resolution confirmed that Pakistani forces surrendered to the allied forces that included forces of Bangladesh and India. This resolution also justifies that India has no logic to celebrate the 16th December as its victory day since people of East Pakistan went on war against West Pakistan. If the East Pakistanis didn’t go on war India could never cede Pakistan. So, only Bangladesh, but not India, has the legal and sole right to celebrate 16th December as their Victory Day)
Another most significant resolution honors and values our independence and interlinks it to that of America itself. Quoting Edward F. Kendy, this resolution recollects, ‘— on February 14, 1972, the late Senator Edward F. Kennedy at a speech at Dhaka University said, ‘‘The struggle of the people of Bangladesh . . . evokes the greatest memories of our past’’ and exemplifies a shared love of freedom with the American people.”
All the resolutions reaffirm and indicate that America will not allow India to swallow Bangladesh. These resolutions are very encouraging and inspirational for Bangladesh. It is hoped America will honor and akin to these resolutions in practice to make South Asia a zone of peace.
American policymakers, especially President Biden’s administration, for the sake of America’s long-term geo-strategic interest will no longer allow India to misuse American friendship in expanding its hegemonic paw over the smaller countries of the South Asian region.
India during the cold war acted as the pawn of defunct Soviet Union and still tilts to it. India stands against America policy, if it undermines Russian interest. When Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan or Russia invaded Ukraine, India sided with it. India even refrained from condemning the genocide in Arakan or Myanmar military coup that toppled the Aung Sang Suu Kyi government.
When America asked India not to buy Russian S-400 air defense India just ignored it giving little value to the suggestion.
India’s former defense minister Nirmala Sitharaman in 2018 arrogantly said that the US cannot stop the deal of buying the missile for which India already paid $8.5 million. India still goes ahead to collect 150 missile spending about $5 billion.
India has its own agenda of availing American friendship that contradicts the US policy and vision. America virtually has no room to trust India. Indian history proves that it can betray with its allies anytime and even can stand against them.
Under such a situation the US, being the guardian of democracy and peace, has a moral responsibility to deter India from interfering in the internal and external affairs of its neighboring countries. It is alleged India misuses American friendship to establish its own lordship over the South Asian countries. Such a policy will jeopardize America’s long-term geo-strategic interest and may prompt these countries to lean to China to deter India’s domination and expansion.
Poor India’s hobnob with America is directed to scare the neighboring countries and get more and more American investment to overcome its third world characteristics. It dreams to emerge as the guardian not of Asia, but also the whole world. It already objected against American base in the Diego Garcia Island, situated 1,116 miles off India’s Southwest coast of Kanyakumari. In the nineties I went through an article of Subramanian Swamy, an Indian think tank who predicted that a day would come when India would not allow America to freely enter the Indian Ocean. India considers the whole of Indian Ocean as its own lake, though 54 countries, including Bangladesh, share its coast.
Considering India’s aggressive hegemonic dreams and designs America should bridle India and allow other South Asian countries to survive protecting their sovereignty and territorial integrity. If India is not halted South Asia may face nuclear confrontation, which will be disastrous for human civilization. *
Ø Mohammad Zainal Abedin is a Bangladesh-origin American journalist & researcher.
Ø March 20, 2021