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  #1  
Old September 6, 2011, 07:15 PM
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Default Talks with Manmohan Singh Fail...Bangladesh to Retain Sovereignty For Now

from http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesig...php?nid=201405

Quote:
Bangladesh and India have failed to sign agreements on transit and Teesta and Feni rivers, the most sought after takeaways from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh, striking a blow to their bilateral ties.

Manmohan began his two-day official visit yesterday as the first Indian prime minister to come to Bangladesh in more than a decade and raising high hopes both in Dhaka and New Delhi of making a new beginning.

He was accorded a red carpet reception at Shahjalal International Airport, greeted by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on a sunny autumn day

Manmohan's visit and his official talks with Hasina yesterday were overshadowed by New Delhi's last-moment dramatic decision against signing the Teesta water-sharing treaty in the face of stiff opposition from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The gloom persisted even though the talks produced the signing of 10 Memorandums of Understanding and protocols covering land boundary to preservation of Sundarbans, and a framework agreement on cooperation for development.

Hours before Manmohan's arrival in Dhaka, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes summoned Indian High Commissioner Rajeet Mitter to the foreign Office demanding an explanation why New Delhi backed out from an earlier commitment to sign the Teesta accord.

Quayes expressed Dhaka's displeasure over the Teesta debacle.

New Delhi reportedly agreed to share with Dhaka 50 percent of the Teesta waters in a draft treaty agreed by the two countries during Indian PM's National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon's whirlwind visit to Bangladesh last week.

Happy with the draft, Bangladesh was eagerly waiting for the deal to be signed as this was a key prize Hasina's government wanted most from Manmohan's visit. The Teesta dispute has rendered Bangladesh's multi-million taka Teesta irrigation project almost idle for decades.

It was West Bengal's newly-elected Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who torpedoed the Teesta deal saying it goes against her state's interests. After she exited from Manmohan's Dhaka entourage, the Indian government backed out from the deal dealing a blow to Hasina's hopes.

The Teesta failure blocked the hoped-for deal on sharing the Feni river waters and signing a “letter of exchange” containing Dhaka's consent to let India use Chittagong and Mongla ports to carry goods through Bangladesh territory.

In a statement after the talks, Manmohan asked not to overplay the water disputes.

“Our common rivers need not be sources of discord… We have decided to continue discussions to reach a mutually acceptable, fair and amicable arrangement for the sharing of Teesta and Feni river waters,” Manmohan said in a written statement.

In a separate media statement, Hasina said, “I am happy to announce that we have moved closer to resolving long pending issues of common concern. This has been done in a spirit of warmth and cordiality and understanding.”

Both the leaders expressed satisfaction over India's decision to give duty-free access to 46 products from Bangladesh. Hasina was glad that India agreed to provide 24-hour access to Tin Bigha corridor for the residents of Bangladesh enclaves of Dhagram and Angorpota.

They also pointed to the signing of the protocol to the Land Boundary Agreement of 1974.

“With this, both our countries have now demarcated the entire land boundary as well as resolved the status of enclaves and adversely possessed areas,” Manmohan said.

He also said the Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development signed by the two sides “is a contemporary blueprint designed to encompass on all forms and sectors of cooperation.”

Earlier, Manmohan was given a 19-gun military salute at the airport, where he reviewed a parade and got introduced to ministers and high officials.

After the airport ceremony, the Indian premier placed floral wreath at the National Memorial at Savar. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Finance Minister AMA Muhith separately called on him at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel where he was staying.

Manmohan arrived at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) at 5:05pm and held Tete-a-Tete with Hasina that lasted about 45 minutes. Originally, it was scheduled for half an hour.

After the exclusive talks, the two prime ministers joined the official talks which began at 6:00pm at the International Conference Centre of the PMO and lasted less than half an hour.

Hasina led a 21-member delegation while her Indian counterpart led a 19-member team at the talks.

But the two premiers met again one-to-one first and then aided by their respective foreign ministers for about half an hour, and all of a sudden an official of the foreign ministry took the file of "Protocol to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement" which was not in the list.

Highly placed sources said the two leaders took the bold step to sign the agreement to address the legacy issues -- (i) undemarcated land boundary (ii) enclaves; and (iii) adverse possessions.

Officials said it was due to be signed by the home ministers, but Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and her Indian counterpart SM Krishna signed it.

DEALS MADE
1. Comprehensive framework on cooperation

2. a. Demarcation of 6.5 miles of land boundary
b. Exchange of enclaves and adversely possessed land
c. 24-hour access to Dahagram, Angorpota enclaves through Tin Bigha corridor

3. Protection of Sundarbans tigers

4. Cooperation of railways on transit traffic for Nepal

5. Exchange of programmes by BTV and Doordarshan

6. Cooperation between Dhaka University and Jawaharlal Nehru University

7. Preservation of Sundarbans bio-diversity

8. Cooperation on renewable energy

9. Cooperation on fisheries

10. Cooperation on fashion technology
Thank Allah Almighty...its relieving to see that majority of the public, regardless of what political isle they might choose to walk on viewed India with the mistrust and skepticism our large neighbor deserves.

Interesting note and question for all of our resident fluff girls who not long ago claimed that India is helping us out and that we should try to work together and jump at the chance to spend over a billion US dollars to build their roads: why does New Delhi so "abruptly" change her mind on the rivers?

A week ago they say "we will share" today not so. Question is what changed in the last 7 days?

Here's a theory: how about they never intended to share but rather felt with this fake agreement they could easily get Hasina to hand over Bangladeshi sovereignty? It was actually a genius plan that failed only because a Bangladeshi PM acted - for whatever reason - in the interest of the nation. Just to illustrate how unlikely that is for our resident Indian fluffers, I have a better chance of banging the next Miss Universe pageant winner!

Really interested to see what Neel's paranoid take on this is gonna be if he can stop crying long enough to type something out.

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  #2  
Old September 6, 2011, 07:37 PM
Equinox Equinox is offline
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Whatever you may have to say about our ministers and politicians we have to recognise and appreciate the brilliant diplomats and bureaucrats who are the real people working behind the scenes. I have full faith in them and believe they are looking out for the country. I heard recently that there are no less than six Harvard and Oxford graduates serving and advising the government and Mijarul Quayes is one of them. You have to be a true son of the soil to return from such a position and serve the country.

I believe the original draft proposed a roughly 70 - 30 share of water in favour of India. But just before the PM's arrival it became 50 - 50 and both parties agreed to it in principal. However the CM of WB was apparently unaware of the new development and threw a bitch fit. And as the deal cannot go through without the approval of the CMs of all five of the Indian states to be affected by it, it was postponed. Mamata can go to hell for all I care. We must not budge. And since the deal was agreed on a mutual basis; signatures being a mere formality; we have every right to be upset by the delay.
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Old September 6, 2011, 07:41 PM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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It's not India - Mamata is playing her own local political game and trying to consolidate her position in Paschimbangao and ensuring the survival of her government. This was an extreme slap in the face for both Singh and Hasina. I am usually suspicious of our neighbor with extreme prejudice and often think AL under the aegis of Hasina is often overly solicitous of India. However - that being said - in general the agreements that were to be signed would have been a win-win for both countries if you look past the shrill outcry from the xenophobic nutjobs.

Asaad, not calling you a zenohobic nutjob, but can you articulate as to why you think the proposed agreements would have been a sell-out of Bangladesh's sovereignty?
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Old September 6, 2011, 07:58 PM
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If you go by the Buildup to the visit & resultant expectations, then a big YES. It has failed. But see only the "border and chitmohol" agreement + Trade Agreement "46/61 items tax free entry" + "Transit Agreement to Nepal/Bhutan" these three alone could have been more than enough to call it a very successful visit. This is probably the biggest achievement of any BD covernment after Mujib, for me it's been a fantastic achievement of AL govt.

India is going with nothing. They had only one thing to get; Transit to the East. I'm happy that it wasnt signed, we get more time to tie up the lose ends. And this Mamata's stance will reduce some of the emotions of our negotiators & help make a better transit agreement with India. And not to forget, due to mamta's drama, we got more in this agreements than we would have got. Sing balanced the situation through some additional benefits to us.

Hope both Tista/Feni water sharing and Transit agreements to India gets signed soon. I'm really happy... Thanks to Digital Apa ...
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Old September 6, 2011, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
This sudden scrapping of the pact reportedly caused disappointment in Dhaka which sought a reassurance from New Delhi that the Teesta treaty had only been put on hold temporarily. In fact, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's advisor and special representative had said that New Delhi must assure them that the agreement would be signed soon, as it would be difficult to explain to the people of their country if it didn't happen.


Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/in...hold-131829&cp
Dhaka is also appyling pressure to get the deal done soon. So all in all I'd say it's been a good performance.
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Old September 6, 2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
However - that being said - in general the agreements that were to be signed would have been a win-win for both countries if you look past the shrill outcry from the xenophobic nutjobs.
The 10 small agreements that were signed are, in my limited opinion, inconsequential to our people at large. I am concerned only about water and the transit issue.

Quote:
Asaad, not calling you a zenohobic nutjob, but can you articulate as to why you think the proposed agreements would have been a sell-out of Bangladesh's sovereignty?
Excellent questions, Doc.

1) I believe the transit agreement is essentially a $1B loan to build roads connecting WB or the Ctg/Mongla ports with the "seven sisters". Now, I think a few people have mentioned that the most likely and logical route would bypass any important route for Bangladeshi transport. Its the equivalent of paying millions to build a 100,000-seater cricket stadium in the middle of Hilltracts.

Now 1B is what after interest accrues? I don't know, but my guess would be 1.2 B at the low end and God forbid but it could swell to 2B by the time its all paid back. Now to pay India 2B dollars to build a road that they will benefit almost solely from makes zero fiscal sense. I am highly skeptical, hostile even, to Indian political issues vis a vis Bangladesh, but even if Barack Obama came up with this idea, I'd shoot it down with utter disdain.

2) Manmohan, Hasina, and BAL party had thought of this is a simple quid pro quo...ie you give us water, we give you a road. Even I had thought of it as such. However my father pointed out that its not a quid pro quo at all. Water is our basic human right, regardless of what international law might say. A road + transit is a convenience that may be granted or denied.

Bangladesh has no moral obligation to provide a road to someone who refuses to give us our fair share of water violating its natural "God-given" path to the Bay of Bengal.

3) What are the cost-benefit of building such a road? We will likely not gain much use. Plus, what is India going to ship to this area? If it is military convoys and aid to fight the Marxists in the Seven Sisters, can India guarantee we won't be a soft and sitting duck to face the Marxist ire? India doesn't have to send any sensitive items either...any assistance and Marxists will have a legitimate reason to target us. We have horrible intelligence, poor security, and porous borders. It is not at all beyond the bounds of reality that Marxists could wreak havoc in Bangladesh if they so wished. Why give them justification to attack us?

4) From what my father told me, India is not even willing to pay any royalties for using such a transit route. This could be bogus BNP propaganda, but it makes sense. India's offer is allegedly only to pay maintenance fees for using the highways. Sounds like a big time rip off to me.

***************

Even if we got a completely favorable deal on water, the transit issue would be far more harmful.
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Old September 6, 2011, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANFAN
This is probably the biggest achievement of any BD covernment after Mujib, for me it's been a fantastic achievement of AL govt.
Yes, I have to admit that BAL did very well here. Far far better than what I expected of them. Whatever the reason, whoever the person...it was a job well done. I expected to wake up to see Bangladesh being a de facto 29th state of India. Surprised and pleased to see it wasn't the case.

But I hope the transit deal never gets signed...unless we are assured of no ill effect, financial or security.
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Old September 6, 2011, 09:23 PM
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I still do not see a selling out of sovereignty here. Even if I agreed to ALL your points, we see a poor business arrangement. Let's get past what X or Y tells you (even if X or Y is your father), let us dissect the various agreements to determine whether we are getting shafted or otherwise. I haven't analyzed the proposed agreements in details so cannot, currently, make detailed analyses.

In broad strokes, there is huge mutual benefit to water, trade, transport and power arrangements for both countries especially considering our geographical location. I am hoping others will chime also in with thoughtful and logical analysis of the agreements rather than be driven by partisanship. For example, Madam - I think thou dost protest too much (directed at the other lady).

Lets start with each of your points.

1.The $1B line of credit. From what I have read, the line of credit was not just limited to support the improvement of transport infrastructures that would be needed to support increased traffic if we allow transhipment but to also improve power grid connectivity. The interest is very low at about ~1%, so perhaps we can agree to let that rest for now. Bangladesh had decided to undertake 20 projects with the line of credit - 12 for railway development, 5 for road improvements, and 3 for port development (Mongla, Ctg AND Ashulia). Improving our rickety railway infrastructure would be a internal benefit - the plan did NOT call for building new railways solely to build railways that connect only Indian cities across Bangladesh. Out existing railway network is antiquated and the Western and Eastern networks are not well connected and any improvements there would have helped us immensely. Similarly road and port improvement would have also benefited us immensely. What I do not know is how much cost-benefit analysis have been done to estimate the value of the improvements. At the very minimum the internal financial benefit must exceed significantly the ~1%/per annum interest rates ot be worthwhile. I haven't seen/read any such economic analyses.

As an EE undergrad with an understanding our power-grid system and generation capacity, I do support any work towards power-grid integration. At the very least we could have used excess capacity in Nepal/Bhutan to supplement our perennial electricity shortages.

What I did not like about the line of credit was the fact that ALL goods, services and works must be procured from India. So unless someone can quantify the economic benefit of the loan, that restriction would have been a point of contention with me.

Edit: Added: This would have also given us transit to Nepal and Bhutan and vice-versa.

Here are more details on what Bangladesh was planning to do with the money. No, no 100,100 seat capacity stadium in the hill-tracts:

Quote:
The array of infrastructures, equipment and facilities we are looking at includes dredgers for Mongla Port, BIWTA and WDB, internal container river port at Ashuganj, broad gauge locomotive engines and passenger coaches, tank wagon for fuel transportation, second Bhairab bridge, second Titas bridge, double-decker buses for BRTC, developed land port, overpasses at Jurain and Malibagh, connectivity road between Ramgarh and Sabroom, power grid line and capacity-building for BSTI

2. I wish moral rights fed our tummies.

3. See 1 but regarding spill-over of insurgency violence into Bangladesh - yes, it is a concern.

4. Hearsay. Cannot comment until we know the details to validate or refute either way. I will refrain to comment on propaganda that makes sense.
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Old September 6, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Doc, I can't disagree with what you've said in your last post. I just hope that India would allow it to go down as you've stated without any other strings attached. I just remain skeptical.
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Old September 6, 2011, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
Doc, I can't disagree with what you've said in your last post. I just hope that India would allow it to go down as you've stated without any other strings attached. I just remain skeptical.
Fair enough. Skeptical, sure. I an too not knowing all the details but the hyperbole of your thread title about retention of sovereignty was a rather far stretch from this sentiment, no?
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Old September 6, 2011, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
Fair enough. Skeptical, sure. I an too not knowing all the details but the hyperbole of your thread title about retention of sovereignty was a rather far stretch from this sentiment, no?
in retrospect, yes. although if, and it didn't end up happening, we were to make a terrible deal, i think it would be apt to say that we were a mere puppet and not a sovereign state. at the end of the day, BAL stood up when it mattered most. and everyone should be thankful for that.

had this been BNP, we could definitely give the fairness of such a deal the benefit of the doubt. even then, why would the any party forgo a "good deal". that the more India-friendly party couldn't come to terms should be proof that the main deal must have been quite lopsided.

i think 95% of Bangladeshis were/are skeptical of India's broader intentions regarding us...and I for one will no longer believe that BAL is Delhi's puppet gov.
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Old September 7, 2011, 12:45 AM
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I think the jury is out as to whether it was going to be a good deal or a bad deal. My inclination is towards the former. As for our political parties foregoing a good deal, our history is replete with partisan imbecility when one party thinks a particular decision might benefit the other party or when the deal takes the wind out of the sails of the their raison d'etre. Let's face it - there is little to chose between the BNP or the AL these days in terms of economic or social policies. These days much of BNP's survival is dependent in playing the Islam card or the anti-India card. And AL continues to co-opt the liberation war theme.

Interestingly - in terms of economic policies the BNP has made a left leaning turn while AL has made a right leaning turn (even with CPB stalwarts in the cabinets) so in many ways AL is right of center and BNP left. In terms of social policies - BNP unfortunately has moved very far to the right.
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Old September 7, 2011, 02:04 AM
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TBH even if this treaty deal had happened I wonder to what extent India will honour their deal. India apart from Israel must have the worst relations with all their neighbours.

After all the agreements to stop border killings have these border baboons of theirs stopped being trigger happy?

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Old September 7, 2011, 06:32 AM
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I agree with Zunaid, loss of sovereignty, is a far too strong term/phrase.

Rip off deal and being exploited yes, but not loss of of sovereignty. Thats a far too aggressive perspective.
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Old September 7, 2011, 08:58 AM
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In the narrow context: I am very glad that the issue regarding Bangladeshi and Indian enclaves has been addressed to a large extent during this visit. That in itself was a historic achievement. I also hope that we have greater cooperation with India in our effort to improve our railways. Indian Railways may not be pretty, but they do successfully transport millions of people at a low price - something we could really benefit from.

In the wider context: I think we, in Bangladesh, need to have a more critical engagement with the term 'sovereignty'. In the last 40 years we have been trying to consolidate and assert our existence as a Westphalian nation-state. But we now live in a world that is gradually moving away from such a model; some faster than others. We have the EU member states at one end of the spectrum and Israel on the other, with countries who are members of various free trade/free movement agreements/etc inbetween (NAFTA, ASEAN, etc)

'Globalization' has now become a by-word to describe interactions (of almost any kind) in the 21st century but I think 'regionalization' and 'sub-regionalization' is also part of our zeitgeist. Greater cooperation with our local and regional neighbours is inevitable and can even be considered necessary to meet domestic demands. But, going about this highly sensitive matter will require a great deal of introspection and deliberation.

Just like in everything else, we need to consider the examples of other countries, try to avoid their mistakes, improve on their achievements, and all the while remain true to what we consider our national identity to be. It is an issue that is constantly discussed in the country that I am sitting in now, Germany. They have been in the clutches of national socialism, lost two world wars, been quartered and halved by outside forces, yet after reunification and the return of democracy, they have thought it prudent to cede their sovereignty, to an extent, to the EU. It goes without saying that the european common market has some problems as well, but Germany has managed to be one of the strongest economies in the world. We need to observe their example and think about how we can apply it in our particular context. Easier said then done I know, and something that we will constantly have to grapple with - hence why I say critical engagement is required.
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Old September 7, 2011, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Equinox
Whatever you may have to say about our ministers and politicians we have to recognise and appreciate the brilliant diplomats and bureaucrats who are the real people working behind the scenes. I have full faith in them and believe they are looking out for the country. I heard recently that there are no less than six Harvard and Oxford graduates serving and advising the government and Mijarul Quayes is one of them. You have to be a true son of the soil to return from such a position and serve the country.
I believe the original draft proposed a roughly 70 - 30 share of water in favour of India. But just before the PM's arrival it became 50 - 50 and both parties agreed to it in principal. However the CM of WB was apparently unaware of the new development and threw a bitch fit. And as the deal cannot go through without the approval of the CMs of all five of the Indian states to be affected by it, it was postponed. Mamata can go to hell for all I care. We must not budge. And since the deal was agreed on a mutual basis; signatures being a mere formality; we have every right to be upset by the delay.
To be honest, there are (much) more than 6 Ivy League and Oxbridge educated officials at various levels of the BD government, particularly the bureaucracy. If you do well in the BCS exams and get selected for the more 'reputed' services, i.e. the Foreign Service, Administration and Judiciary, then you are bound to get opportunities to study or receive training in prestigious institutions around the world. (Almost always on a generous scholarship) Back in the day, only a couple of diplomats per batch got selected to go to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Mijarul Quayes was one of them. Now, not only have such opportunities increased, but there is even more scope to get hands-on training on specialized international relations issues and languages. So, yes, our top-level bureaucrats are well-educated but it is important to remember that the challenges they face in our country require more than just a high quality education!
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Old September 7, 2011, 11:21 AM
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achcha, Bangladesh cricket team er bharot sofor niye ki kono shiddhanto neya hoyechey? naki tao hoy ni?
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Old September 7, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Loss of sovereignty is signified when you let your territory be used to protect terrorists and allow truck loads of weapons to be transited through your territory (*wink wink*) . It is not a loss of sovereignty when you let legal goods to be transported through your country in exchange of much needed foreign currency. And neither it is a bad thing if such a decision prompts our leader to fix our transportation system which will also be used by our people.
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Old September 7, 2011, 09:33 PM
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^^^this goverment is not sold out yet..
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Old September 7, 2011, 10:27 PM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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Navo - you brought out an interesting point but one which may be beyond the scope of this thread or even forum. I wonder if Bangladesh was even ready for Westphalian sovereignty when and how the nation was grafted first out of India. The borders that divide the Bengal nation are ripe for irredentist demands. Until the nation (and the neighborhood) is at ease in its own skin (border), I do not see us escaping the narrow strictures of an Westphalian state into something more global or at the very least regional. I have always thought that the Balkanization of the sub-continent is a first-step towards a more equitable supra-national regional entity.
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Old September 7, 2011, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HereWeGo
It is not a loss of sovereignty when you let legal goods to be transported through your country in exchange of much needed foreign currency. And neither it is a bad thing if such a decision prompts our leader to fix our transportation system which will also be used by our people.
Of course its not a loss of sovereignty; but what would we call it if the "legal goods" brings about attacks by Maoists on Bangladeshi soil ?
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Old September 8, 2011, 12:08 AM
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if, and that is the key word, i can get someone to pay me to screw his wife...that man has lost anything resembling manhood.

similarily, paying the Indians to build transport routes primarly or even significantly for their use is tantamount to castrating/neutering a state. its little removed from pakistan who can't even stop drone attacks in their own territory.
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  #23  
Old September 8, 2011, 12:11 AM
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al Furqaan al Furqaan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
I have always thought that the Balkanization of the sub-continent is a first-step towards a more equitable supra-national regional entity.
But do the Balkans have such a sentiment that transcends their immediate borders? I also think the division of the Raj into India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Balochistan would be for greater equitability and freedom. But not sure it would create any supra-national feelings, rather the reverse.

Btw, your mention of Westphalia brings back decade old memories of studying European history as a high school senior. Need to refresh my memory...i think 1648 is the date, but I couldn't tell you anything about what happened then.
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Old September 8, 2011, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
if, and that is the key word, i can get someone to pay me to screw his wife...that man has lost anything resembling manhood.

similarily, paying the Indians to build transport routes primarly or even significantly for their use is tantamount to castrating/neutering a state. its little removed from pakistan who can't even stop drone attacks in their own territory.
When u take a bank loan to purchase a car, it is still your car and you use it whatever the way you want!!! The bank is not neutering you by giving u the loan (given the fact that there is no question on defaulting on the loan).... Going by your logic we should not build Jamuna setu and padma setu, afterall all transit route would use the two bridges??? At the end of the day its OUR ROAD, OUR LAND!!! OUR people will use it, the roads will not be exclusively used for indian trucks. If you say it will be primarily used for indian trucks and no bangladeshi vehicle shall be allowed than please back your statement with some references. We are taking loans from India because we dont have cash lying around to build them ourselves and low interest rate...
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Old September 8, 2011, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al Furqaan
But do the Balkans have such a sentiment that transcends their immediate borders? I also think the division of the Raj into India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Balochistan would be for greater equitability and freedom. But not sure it would create any supra-national feelings, rather the reverse.

Btw, your mention of Westphalia brings back decade old memories of studying European history as a high school senior. Need to refresh my memory...i think 1648 is the date, but I couldn't tell you anything about what happened then.
Westphalia was where the Thirty Years War ended and 'the Peace' established there laid the foundations for the modern nation state, i.e. absolute sovereignty, etc. It's relevant to this discussion as many countries are now beginning to move away from the Westphalian model - at varying speeds.
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