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Modi Raised no Migrant Issue: Bangladesh

Assertions on sending back illegal Bangladeshi migrants may have drawn cheers and crowds during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election campaign, but the issue didn’t figure in the discussions he had with the representative of the neighbouring country on his first day in office.

Published: 29th May 2014 10:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2014 10:09 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Assertions on sending back illegal Bangladeshi migrants may have drawn cheers and crowds during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election campaign, but the issue didn’t figure in the discussions he had with the representative of the neighbouring country on his first day in office.

“The issue of illegal immigration was not raised during the talks,” said Bangladeshi Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhary on Wednesday.

Shirin had met Modi on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was invited to Modi’s swearing-in but couldn’t attend as she was slated to visit Japan.

“You can write it down. After May 16, these Bangladeshis had better be ready with their bags packed,” Modi said in his April 28 speech.

This had created a lot of unease in the Hasina government, which is battling allegations of corruption in security forces. India had fully backed Hasina over the January 5 Parliamentary election, even though the West had questioned the credibility of the election as the Opposition BNP had boycotted it.

Also, Hasina is engaged in a no-holds-barred confrontation with Opposition-backed Islamist groups.

Shirin said Modi had assured her that he was “actively considering” the pending issues of the land boundary agreement and the Teesta water treaty. The draft bill related to the land boundary agreement has been passed by the Rajya Sabha but is yet to be tabled in the LS. “We are much more hopeful this time about the land boundary agreement as the party has a majority in the House,” she said.

Bangladesh had already reached out to the BJP, with then Foreign Minister Dipu Moni meeting party leaders to convince them not to oppose the boundary agreement.



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