'NRC implementation India's internal matter'

Syed Muazzem Ali (File Photo)

India has conveyed to Bangladesh that the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is an internal matter, which will be resolved internally, Bangladeshi envoy here Syed Muazzem Ali said on Friday.

"We have been told that this is our internal issue and it will be resolved internally, so Bangladesh need not concern itself. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has said it is our internal matter and we will resolve it internally," he said in response to a question.

Speaking at an event at the Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC) here, Ali said nobody was sent back to Bangladesh after the NRC implementation in Assam and no one would be sent back as it was India's internal matter.

Bangladesh will not interfere in any of India's internal matters, he added.

"As of now, they (India) have never raised it bilaterally. I have seen this kind of statements before elections. We talk to the Indian government and not with political propaganda," he said, responding to a question on BJP chief Amit Shah's comments made in April, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, that his party will throw illegal migrants from Bangladesh out after coming to power.

Shah is currently the Union home minister.

The NRC was prepared to identify the genuine Indian citizens living in Assam since March 24, 1971, or before as well as to identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the north-eastern state.

Of the 3.3 crore applicants, over 19 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC published on August 30.

Ali also said Modi had assured Bangladesh that the Teesta Water Sharing Deal would be signed between the two countries.

"Amid all these (bilateral) developments and progress, there remains some dissatisfaction also. And that you can guess is the Teesta Water Sharing Deal. However, we have been reassured by Prime Minister Modi that this will be signed and we are looking forward to that," he said.

Ali also raised the issued of early repatriation of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to Myanmar.

"There are roughly 1.1 million Rohingya refugees who have taken shelter in my country. We have received generous assistance from India, which has provided the largest relief supplies to the camps. But the displacement of 1.1 million Rohingya refugees is a major security threat for all of us and it is all the more necessary to repatriate them to their country with full citizenship and full rights so they don't have to leave their homes," he said.

The Bangladeshi envoy said the onus was now on the international community to push for the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees as fast as possible.

Ali also said security was a major area of cooperation between India and Bangladesh.

"Security has been a crucial area of cooperation between our two countries, which has been consolidated in recent years. Security cooperation has been the high point of our cooperation and it is based on our reciprocal desire not to tolerate terrorism in any form and not to allow our soil to be used for this purpose," Ali said.

He added that the bilateral cooperation in this area had significantly strengthened due to good neighbourly ties between the two countries.

"Peace, however, does not come for free and we have to be vigilant as various insurgent elements are active in our neighbourhood," Ali said.

He added that India and Bangladesh needed to focus particularly on the three key areas of trade and investment, connectivity and energy to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation.

Responding to a question on Bangladesh's ties with China, Ali said those were mostly related to trade and investment.

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