The scheduled visits of foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and home minister Asaduzzaman Khan to India were cancelled at the last moment.
Foreign minister Momen’s trip to New Delhi was to take place from Thursday (yesterday) while home boss Asaduzzaman was scheduled to leave for Indian state Meghalaya today morning.
The FM cancelled his visit due to domestic compulsions a day after he was critical of developments in India, including the enactment of a bill based on religion and a statement made by India’s influential minister Amit Shah involving Bangladesh.
On the other hand, the home minister postponed his visit at the request of Indian authorities on Thursday.
‘Our high commissioner in New Delhi conveyed that I should defer my visit for a few days,’ Asaduzzaman told New Age on Thursday.
His visit was planned at the invitation of the chief ministers of Tripura and Meghalaya as part of moves to strengthen bilateral relations.
Foreign ministry’s public relations officer M Tohidul Islam confirmed that foreign minister Momen had cancelled his visit ‘for internal reasons here.’
Momen was invited to attend an international conference styled as ‘Delhi Dialogue: Advancing Partnership in Indo-Pacific’, organised by the Indian external affairs ministry, the ASEAN secretariat and New Delhi-based organisation Research and Information System for Developing Countries.
Momen cancelled the visit as he is inclined to remain present at the state programmes on the Martyred Intellectuals Day on December 14 and the Victory Day on December 16, a senior foreign ministry official said.
The official, however, said that state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam would fly for Madrid on December 14 to join the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque and MoFA secretary Asia and Pacific wing Masud Bin Momen are in The Hague on official visits involving the International Court of Justice, where proceedings on the genocide against the Rohingya people were going on, added the official.
Foreign ministry director general for Americas wing Ferdousi Shahriar would represent the foreign minister at the conference in the Indian capital.
Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar claimed at a regular press briefing in New Delhi on Thursday that there was no link between the cancellation of the visit by Bangladesh foreign minister and the enactment of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
‘Bangladesh side has conveyed to us that they changed programme due to internal issues. Any speculation regarding CAB is unwarranted,’ he said, according to MEA website.
Describing the enactment of CAB as an ‘internal matter of India’, he said, ‘No bill will impact India-Bangladesh relations.’
Replying to a question on allegations of religious persecution in Bangladesh, Kumar said that there was no religious persecution under the current Bangladesh government.
It was during previous military rule, he added.
Foreign minister Momen on Wednesday told journalists at his office that the CBA introduced by the Indian government would weaken the country’s position as a secular state.
Asked about a statement made by India’s home minister Amit Shah in the Indian parliament generalising Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan as Islamic countries, Momen said that the statement involving Bangladesh was not correct.
‘[In Bangladesh] our religious harmony is great. Religious minorities are not persecuted here,’ he asserted.
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