Dhaka asks New Delhi to maintain commitments on onion

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 17:58, Sep 16,2020 | Updated: 00:30, Sep 17,2020


Bangladesh on Wednesday expressed concern over India’s restrictions on onion export and sent a note verbale to the Indian government asking the country to maintain its commitment for keeping export of essential commodities unhindered.

The foreign ministry expressed the concern in the note sent to the Indian high commission in Dhaka as India suddenly imposed restrictions on the export of onion without notifying Bangladesh, doubling its price overnight here in the last couple of days.

There was a commitment between the two countries on keeping flows of essentials, especially onion, unhindered, state minister M Shahriar Alam said.

There was also an understanding that both sides would inform the other side in advance before enforcing decisions that might have impacts on the domestic markets, he said.

The Indian side did not issue any notification before suddenly stopping the export of onion, a Bangladesh diplomat in New Delhi said. 

The Bangladesh high commission in New Delhi also handed over an identical diplomatic note to the Indian external affairs ministry on Tuesday.

There was no reflection of understanding, developed based on discussions between the two countries in 2019 and 2020, in the announcement made by the Indian government imposing restrictions on the export of onion on September 14, according to the diplomatic note.  

In both letters, the Bangladesh side expressed concern about sudden enforcement of restrictions by the Indian authorities on the export of onion making the domestic market in Bangladesh volatile.

The foreign ministry sent the notes after getting a formal request from the commerce ministry seeking diplomatic interventions for removal of restrictions on the export of onion for Bangladesh.

Onion prices shot up to Tk120 on Tuesday a day after the Indian government had imposed a ban on the export of the item.

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