For India, a friendly but a professional army in Bangladesh committed to counter-terrorism and anti-radicalization is an imperative in maintaining the tranquillity in its own eastern and northeastern states … As one retired Bangladeshi diplomat has written this to the writer in a private communication, we believe: Bhaumik’s article is another serious message from New Delhi to Sheikh Hasina to draw her back to its side; by telling her that there are serious rumblings in the armed forces where conspiracies are afloat aimed at disestablishing her government with the possibility of an armed coup.
He has written about groups and given names that should not be available to a columnist/strategic affairs writer but only to someone with deep links to intelligence sources or fed by such sources. The underlying message in the article is not difficult to discern. It has been written to warn Sheikh Hasina that the army is in the conspiring mode in the same way it was before and after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Subhir Bhaumik has also flagged for Sheikh Hasina, no doubt on New Delhi’s behest, that it is time for her to beware of these rumblings and conspiracies that involve some very close to her like her Defence Adviser and take matters in her own hands. Subhir Bhaumik’s article has been written to remind her without spelling it for her that her father and her family were the victims of such rumblings and conspiracies in the armed forces so that she returns to India as her best friend to show her the way out.
In the above backdrop, it is evident that India is genuinely suffering from an acute Sinophobia, especially because the Trump Administration has more or less virtually withdrawn from the path of taking direct military action in regions, which it rightly or wrongly does not consider strategically that important for the United States. And, what was possibly unthinkable that China would be the first super power to legitimise the controversial 2014 elections in Bangladesh. And, Hasina in return, gave China whatever it wanted from Bangladesh, including the multi-billion-dollar contract to build a deep seaport at Sonadia.
However, to the dismay of China, as pressured by Modi, Hasina scrapped the Sonadia project in 2015. China did not like why Bangladesh reneged on this promised project. And, at the end of the day, China succeeded in pulling Bangladesh out of the Indian orbit. Modi’s failure to ensure Hasina another cakewalk in the 2018 elections in November 2017, he rather asked her to hold free and fair elections in the country made Hasina lean further toward Beijing.
Hasina turned to China out of sheer desperation as she was not only apprehensive of losing the polls badly at the hands of the BNP, but she also feared that thousands of Awami League workers and leaders would fall victims to revenge killings by the opposition. China was too eager to embrace Hasina with all possible help. As heard through the grapevine in Dhaka, China also generously financed the ruling Awami League to win the polls with the help of the police, RAB, and the Election Commission.
As one watched on the BBC TV, General Aziz’s troops just played sitting ducks to allow Awami hooligans to intimidate, physically assault, and bar BNP voters from voting on 30th December 2018. And, those who know, know it quite well that at most polling stations across the country the voting was virtually over on the night before the scheduled election day.
Thus, the December elections are also popularly known as the “Midnight Elections”. What is noteworthy here, besides the grossly rigged elections, is that almost surreptitiously, Beijing replaced New Delhi in Dhaka, the way New Delhi had been once in Bangladesh’s politics between 2009 and 2018.
To be Continued…
To be Continued…