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India relief after Bangla arrests

New Delhi, March 9: The arrest of Tarique Rahman, the son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and considered to be the most powerful man in Dhaka, has transfixed Bangladesh — and evoked a sense of satisfaction and relief in New Delhi.

Although the Centre is unwilling to say anything on record, signs that a pragmatic Indian establishment is willing to deal with the army-backed caretaker government of Fakhruddin Ahmed in Dhaka are loud and clear.

For a start, New Delhi is in regular touch with both Ahmed’s government as well as the Bangladesh army establishment, which has sent a number of signals that they are willing to do business with India. A day after the crackdown, Bangladesh said it was keen to “bury past misunderstandings” with India and accord “high priority” to cultivating a close relationships with Delhi.

“Let me declare unequivocally that it is the intention of the current caretaker government to accord a high priority to cultivating close relationship with all our neighbours, including India,” PTI quoted foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury as saying in Dhaka.

India’s high commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Chakraborty had met the army chief Lt Gen. Moeen U. Ahmed a day before external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee visited Dhaka on February 19.

The Bangladesh army chief has also been invited to India and New Delhi hopes he will accept the invitation soon.

“There was a lot of criminality and even links between extremists and a number of people in the former government,’’ sources said here.

They said that some of these people had been actively working against India, and to that extent, if the army was seen to be cleansing public life in Bangladesh, the Indian establishment could only welcome it.

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