India Policy Foundation organized a panel discussion on India-Bangladesh Relations on June 28, 2014 at IPF seminar hall, New Delhi.
Prof. Jayanta Ray, formerly Chairman, Maulana Azad Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata an expert on Indian foreign policy and including Indo-Bangladesh Relations. He spoke on the systematic ethno-religious cleansing of the Hindus and Buddhists in Bangladesh since 1947 (when it was East Pakistan). That is the main cause of their flight to India as refugees.
Manmohan Sharma, senior Journalist provided a graphic picture of the nature and scale of illegal immigration from Bangladesh and how they are settled not only in Delhi but in various parts of India. He further pointed out how they were involved in various illegal activities and pose a serious threat to the security of the country. He further emphasized the need for urgent action to deport them.
Prof. Chandan Kumar Sharma, University of Tejpur mentioned the various issues which affect the relationship between Indian and Bangladesh- like failure of the authorities in India to deport the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. He also suggested more of river patrolling and the need to revamp the SAARC.
Ms. Rimon Bhuyan Gogoi, lecturer at Ramjas College, University of Delhi, spoke on various issues like sharing of river water, trade relations, need for more cultural exchanges and how Assam needs protection about its ethnic populations.
Ms. Niyati Birwal, research scholar at JNU highlighted major issues like cross borders problems, illegal immigration etc.
Dr. Saradindu Mukherji, Formerly of Delhi University and President Centre for Research in Indo-Bangladesh Relations, Kolkata, stressed the need for greater understanding between India and Bangladesh and how the new NDA government was seriously pursuing this policy. He also emphasized the need for urgent remedial measures to stop illegal immigration from Bangladesh while granting refugee status to the persecuted Hindus compelled to leave Bangladesh.
All the speakers on the panel and the audience stressed the need for maintaining Indo-Bangladesh friendship in such a way that all problems including the serious humanitarian problems were sorted out in an amicable manner and lauded the path breaking initiatives taken by the Honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs Smt. Sushma Swaraj.