India Pushes the South Asian Nations to China

Mohammad Zainal Abedin:  It is really a shocking report for any Bangladeshi that US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun before visiting Bangladesh sought the suggestion of Indian foreign secretary Shringla.

‘The Hindustan Times’, on October 14 (2020) reported Stephen Biegun has told the Indian government that Washington will be consulting it more on its neighbouring countries, as he takes a key step towards resetting ties with Bangladesh at a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the same day.

Shringla briefed his US counterpart on Bangladesh, and told him about the need for Washington to engage with the Muslim-majority country (Bangladesh).

Question surfaced why the American policymakers who control the whole world, should seek the suggestions of Indians who are thousands of miles away from America in every field. Are Indians superior to Americans in respect of intellectuality, diplomatic knowledge, any other fields of the contemporary world?

When American Ministers visit other countries, even Pakistan they don’t seek India’s suggestions. But why Biegun sought India’s suggestion in case of visiting Bangladesh.

Critics say, no American highly placed officials visited Bangladesh for more than a decade. Biegun’s abrupt Bangladesh tour was planned at the covert request of India to deter Bangladesh’s pro-Chinese tilt.

A teacher of Dhaka University opined India guards against America’s geo-strategic in the Indo-Pacific regions. Besides, India’s role to deter China is very crucial for India, in that Bangladesh or any other country of our region is not so important for America. So in return enjoys concessions from America to extend its bossism over its neighboring countries, what is evidently exposed in cases of Bangladesh.

It is clear now that India is the undeclared master of Bangladesh and the US Deputy Secretary of State probably visited Bangladesh to safeguard Indian interest to keep Bangladesh under India’s influence.

A veteran editor of an English daily of Dhaka recalled, no American President after Bill Clinton (March 20, 2000) ever visited Bangladesh. All of his successors repeatedly visited India. Same is the case regarding the visit of American Secretary of States. “They came up to India, went back home, considering Bangladesh, as if; a territory under India’s territorial  jurisdiction”, he alleged.

Diplomatic observers claim, India is the lone country that directly deters China, spending huge resources. America and its allies use India to face China, which allows India to overplay Bangladesh. Using such an opportunity India now poses itself as the chieftain of the South Asian countries, particularly of Bangladesh, and controls their internal, even external, affairs.

India’s hegemonic anti-Bangladesh activities since its emergence in 1971 indicates that it doesn’t believe in the separate existence of Bangladesh, rather India overtly and covertly proceeds to merge Bangladesh with its territory to implement its predetermined dream of ‘Akhand Bharat’.

Jawaharlal Nehru basically nursed the predatory aspiration, who represented the leading Hindus and their financiers Hindu industrials and business magnets, as they needed a large market after the departure of the British from the subcontinent. While in jail, Nehru wrote: “…Whether India is properly to be described as a nation, or two, or more, really does not matter, …….. for the modern idea of nationality has been almost divorced from statehood. The national state is too small a unit today and small states can have no independent existence.” (J. Nehru, The Discovery of India, London, 1956, p.545). He held: “ … the small national state is doomed. It may survive as a cultural, autonomous area but not as an independent political unit.” (The Discovery of India, p. 550).

Since the demand of a separate homeland for the Muslims raised by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Hindu-led political parties, particularly All India National Congress, vehemently opposed the idea of partitioning the subcontinent and opted to retain its unity after the departure of the British. Congress even rejected the idea of an Undivided Independent Bengal out of proposed India and Pakistan.

Replying to a letter of the then Tripura (now Comilla) District Congress President Ashafruddin Ahmad Chowdhury, who wrote to Nehru (dated May 23, 1947) asking why he denounced the idea of ‘United Independent Bengal’. Nehru replied to him saying: “The Congress has stood for the union of India and still stands for it. But we have previously stated that we are not going to compel any part against its will. If that unfortunately leads to a division, then we accept it. But inevitably such a division must mean a division also of Bengal and Punjab. That is only way to have a united India soon-after.” Nehru wanted to mean that the territories (of Bengal and Punjab) that would join Pakistan could come back to India soon.

Labi Collin and Dominic Lapiar in a book ‘Mount Batten and the Partition of India’ mentioned that Nehru extended his support to the objection of ‘Hindu Mahashava’ against Independent Bengal. They added, “Pundit Nehru has stated that he would not agree to Bengal begin independent. …. In his opinion East Bengal was like to be a great embarrassment to Pakistan. Presumably, Pundit Nehru considered East Bengal bound sooner or later to rejoin India.”

The then President of Indian Congress Acharya Kripalini just after the partition of the subcontinent (in 1947) said, “Neither the Congress nor the nation has given up to its claim of United India.”

“India’s first Home Minister Sardar Bollabbhai Patel in 1947 repeated the dream of united India saying, “Sooner than later, we shall again be reunited in common allegiance to our nation.”

The above statements and others of such pattern discarded the existence of independent and sovereign Bangladesh, even not as a part of Part of Pakistan. There is no existence of Bangladesh on the clandestine map of ‘Akhand Bharat’ or ‘Ramraj’. Historically, Hindus treat the Muslims as their enemy. Even the then Bengalee Hindus never recognized the Bengali speaking Muslims as ‘Bengalee’.

Just after the partition of the subcontinent the Central Working Committee meeting of All India National Congress chaired by Nehru held at Bombay in September of 1947 adopted a unanimous resolution that declared: “We hereby decide to accept the present partition (of the subcontinent) for the time-being.” (Speech of Asfuddowla, ex-Secretary for Water Resources Ministry of Bangladesh, at a Roundtable Conference, held at National Press Club of Dhaka in 2010).

The new generation Indian policymakers, above all, defense forces and intelligence agencies of India, nurse and strive to implement Nehru’s utopian dream. They believe that the disintegration of Pakistan in 1971 was one step forward to merge Bangladesh to India, a dream of Nehru.

So they are desperate to delete the map of Bangladesh from the world map. Bangladeshi analysts, who preferred not to be named, for obvious reason,  said, America’s hobnob with India, instigated India to encircle Bangladesh from all sides that enrage the Bangladeshis against India.  India now uses Bangladesh territory as its own, which hurt them. The more India squeezes Bangladesh the more the volume of annoyance and hatred of the Bangladeshis against India increases. To deter India’s paw Bangladeshis to protect their land, Bangladeshis psychologically lean to China. It is the outcome of America’s pro-India policy, which indulges India to overplay in Bangladesh.

Bangladeshis in general believe that it is India that imposed miseries and proxy war on Bangladesh for over a decade. America did nothing to bridle India’s hegemonic designs or restore democracy and human rights in Bangladesh.

A Nepali analyst opined America to deter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region needs Indian support in exchange which allows India to squeeze and exploit its neighboring countries, which irritated and alarmed them.  To preserve their territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence all the neighboring countries of India, including Nepal and Bangladesh, gradually lean to China.

Among all other neighboring countries, India crucially needs to keep Bangladesh inside its cage to use its territory during the probable Sino-India war and keep its northeastern region deterring disintegration.

India senses that Bangladesh leaning to China tries to undo Indian grip, which will be a severe blow on India’s territorial integrity if Bangladesh gets out of its ‘radar’.

This is the inner reason that prompted Indian policymakers to request their American masters to exercise their influence to hold Bangladesh from its pro­-China tilt. It is also essential for America’s geo-strategic interest to keep Bangladesh under India’s fold, which prompted American policymakers to reset its relation with Bangladesh, along with other South Asian nations.

Bangladeshis at home and abroad strongly believe American influence will work little keeping India unbridled. Bangladeshis will never recognize or tolerate India as their master. America must revise its India policy and must bridle India to preserve the eco-socio-cultural interest, above all, independence and sovereignty South Asian countries and deter India’s bid to attain permanent membership in the UN Security Council. That could serve American interest better in the South Asian region.*

*Mohammad Zainal Abedin is Bangladesh-origin American journalist & researcher. > October 30, 2020


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