Bangladesh PM says CAA internal to India, calls it unnecessary
New Delhi: In remarks which indicate Dhaka's concerns and will somewhat worry India, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said India's Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was 'not necessary' but termed it an 'internal matter' of New Delhi.
'We don't understand why (the Indian government) did it. It was not necessary,' Sheikh Hasina was quoted by news agency reports from Dubai as telling Gulf News in an interview during her visit to the UAE.
'No, there is no reverse migration from India. But within India, people are facing many problems,' Sheikh Hasina said, adding, '(Still), it is an internal affair.'
'Bangladesh has always maintained that the CAA and the NRC are internal matters of India,' Sheikh Hasina said. She added, 'The government of India, on their part, has also repeatedly maintained that the NRC is an internal exercise of India and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has in person assured me of the same during my visit to New Delhi in October 2019.'
She said the relationship between Bangladesh and India is currently at its best, with cooperation in a 'wide spectrum of areas.'
India appears to be struggling to contain the possible fallout of the CAA controversy on ties with Bangladesh and seems to be in a damage-control mode. Bangladesh is one of the three countries mentioned in the CAA.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) had pointed out last month that in Bangladesh, the governments of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman (Bangabandhu) and (his daughter and current prime minister) Sheikh Hasina had protected minorities in Bangladesh and that persecution had taken place under spells of military rule in Bangladesh and under the 'previous government' there, a veiled reference to the earlier government led by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Begum Khaleda Zia which was seen as pro-Pakistan and anti-India.
On ties with Bangladesh, the MEA had earlier said there is a close relationship between India and Bangladesh and that the close ties between the two should 'not be defined by postponement of a visit,' a reference to last month's cancellation of the visit of Bangladesh foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen.
The MEA had also said then that a meeting of the Joint Water Commission between the two countries had only been postponed because Bangladesh felt it 'did not have the data from the six rivers.' The MEA had claimed that too much 'should not be read into isolated incidents.'