Maritime Verdict: Bangladesh Government Hides Facts
Famous political thinkers, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau opine that in international politics, rulers act upon immoral activities like deceit, fraud and falsehood which become the principles of political morality. They follow these tactics in order to obtain the interests of their countries. But, in case of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid has been acting upon these techniques against her own country so as to appease India, while the latter has entrapped her by exploiting her pro-Indian tilt to fulfill its strategic interests.
It is notable that Hasina Wajid had already directed her staff to close the chapter of water and border conflicts with New Delhi. Besides, she has given transit trade facilities to India—a move which has been resisted by the Bangladeshi patriots for the past several decades. In this context, a writer has rightly said, “Hasina Wajid again started Honey Moon Period of relationship with India.”
In this respect, maritime boundary dispute between India and Bangladesh (BD) in Bay of Bengal was referred to Permanent Court at Hague. On July 7, 2014, the Court of Arbitration gave its verdict, awarding 19, 467 square kilometers, out of disputed 25, 602 square kilometers area to Bangladesh. Law experts and technocrats from both India and Bangladesh contested the case. Whereas the government of Bangladesh termed the court decision as ‘Triumph of Friendship’, the opinion builders of the country observed it as ‘Sacrifice of Friendship.”
Sanity prevailed upon loyal Bangladeshis who were driven by their sense of rationality, and were prompted to hold seminar on the subject. The speakers, while protesting with concerns said that Bangladesh government failed to project its case before the Arbitration Court at Hague to get Talpatti, a gas rich island. They also pointed out that government’s weak foreign policy and ignorance of anti-Bangladesh agents resulted in a staged drama in which their country got one-third of the bay, while India received two-third of it.
Similarly, the court verdict also decided dispute with Myanmar regarding Saint Martin’s sovereignty which has been favorable to Dhaka. The court verdict will make Bangladesh to lose its rights to freely enter into deep sea.
As the Bangladesh government has hidden facts about the verdict so as to please India, but patriot leaders and people of Bangladesh have been protesting against the government in one way or the other. In this regard, speakers were of the opinion that the rulers were befooling the public in Bangladesh by projecting the judgment, as triumph, hiding the real facts. They rejected the fabricated and deceitful propaganda of the government that Bangladesh got more sea area than India.
As regards the details in relation to the protesters, to sensitize the public in Bangladesh about reality of the judgment, Liberty Bangladesh organized a seminar in which anti-government and anti-Indian themes were raised by all participants. The participants also included specialists of Bangladesh, having strong credentials in maritime border issue which enabled them to express their candid opinions.
In this connection, ANH Akhter Hossain said, “Bandladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid is a master of elusive dance. How can Sheikh Hasina receive recognition for her achievement when Saint Martin’s sovereign status (maintained since 1974) has been diminished? After losing Talpatti to India, she is telling us that there is no land under the water, and Talpatti Island does not exist. If you think otherwise, then go ahead and find it. He added, “These lies will not save the government—the people should take steps to claim Talpatti Island and take the case to the international court.”
Dr. Sabbir Mostafa Khan stated, “There is no question that we have gained maritime border from both disputes, but when it comes to arbitration, we always lost. We are incapable of claiming our rights in the court. We have a tendency to ask for less than what rightfully belongs to us. Government should move away from false promises and propaganda.” He appealed for the formation of a committee, comprising experts to take necessary steps.
Abdul Hye Sikder remarked, “Awami League led by Prime Minister Hasina Wajid has been boasting about the capability of their leadership. I have seen their capability through the court verdict. Sheikh Mujib surrendered everything to India. Now his daughter, the power hungry Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated her capability by sacrificing valuable maritime resources to India.”
The former Commodore Shafiq-ur-Rehman pointed out, “A great achievement from India and Myanmar disputes is that we now have a precise maritime border. This is a step forward. But, the sad part is that we were mysteriously unable to present strong statements in the court, and lost Talpatti Island.”
Professor Dr. Emajuddin Ahmed said, Government of Hasina Wajid has come to power through illegal means, and is now floating on lies. By spreading propaganda, they are trying to avoid their responsibilities. This is a matter of great sadness for a free and sovereign nation. We have gained maritime border, but have lost Talpatti, as we failed to present our case properly. India knew about the gas reserved in Talpatti, and laid claims on the island. Bangladesh knowingly handed over this valuable asset to India. This is betrayal and a case of treason. A lawsuit could be filed against the government.”
Hafiz Uddin Ahmed sated, “People of Bangladesh are continuously being befooled. They are being told of triumphs…spreading propaganda to turn countless losses into victories. This will diplomatically weaken Bangladesh. News is being spread that Bangladesh has received more sea area than India, but actually India received double than Bangladesh.”
He elaborated, “The government has proved itself as traitor and puppet of India by denying the existence of Talpatti. Bangladesh made its defeat inevitable by mysteriously denying the existence of gas enriched Island. One day Sheikh Hasina will have to answer in court for her betrayal.”
While contending the judgment, a key speaker Captain M Rejaul Karim Chowdhury stated, “Bangladesh claimed that verdict regarding maritime boundary dispute with New Delhi is the ‘Triumph of Friendship’, but as there has been no verdict regarding South Talpatti, we can see that the result is ‘Friendship Unresolved.”
He explained, “If Bangladesh gives up Talpatti, then it would be called ‘Sacrifice for Friendship.’ If truly it is to be called ‘Triumph of Friendship’, then Bangladesh should be able to claim the 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas not to be used for corporate India, but instead, it be used to create an interest-free loaning fund called ‘Green Gas Fund’ for farmers of India and Bangladesh.”
Captain M Rejaul Karim futher pointed out, “A weak foreign policy and the ignorance of Bangladesh regime’s agents resulted in a staged drama in which the country received one-third of the bay. India on the other hand, received two-third of the area. Bangladesh propagated that the court verdict was a great success in having maritime borders. Actually, they lost the vital island of Talpatti which is enriched with natural gas. Government of Bangladesh denied that any gas enriched island like Talpatti existed, and therefore easily lost it to India. This has been termed as an act of betrayal and treason…one day Sheikh Hasina will be made answerable and accountable.”
Nevertheless, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been following pro-Indian policies at the cost of her own country. Therefore, to appease New Delhi, and by giving false statement, her government has hidden facts about the verdict of maritime border dispute with India.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations