‘BD-China conspiracy theories’ overwhelms Indian media
Published : Sunday, 16 August, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 575
The simple, straight and assertive title has turned true. Check it for yourself.
Be it the popular and credible Indian daily THE HINDU or the much disruptive and disputed online news portal The Eastern Link - opinions and analyses published in these portals and online versions - clearly signals Bangladesh and China together have indulged in a dangerous geopolitical machination to undermine India in the region. Moreover, half of these reports also speculate that military intervention may anytime trigger a regime change in Bangladesh. And wherever in the subcontinent there is China, Pakistan is also not far.
Fascinatingly enough, if any of my readers map out the root of these portals, online agencies, he or she will automatically end up with news feeding to some Indian journalist or media house.
So what is actually happening behind the sudden media hype in India, where Bangladesh has suddenly become the focal point?
China's lifting of tariffs from some 8, 000 Bangladesh products, building of a new airport in Sylhet, sanctioning loans for several mega projects, Dhaka's persistent chase for more Chinese aid have fuelled the fear that Bangladesh was going beyond 'Delhi's control'.
However, recent Indian media coverage surrounding us has reached to such unbearable degree, that our foreign minister was somewhat compelled to officially declare that our diplomatic ties must not be compared with one another.
What appeared particularly interesting was how the media outlets tagged Pakistan in the growing Dhaka - Beijing ties.
The crux of the Indian media's reading is that: Bangladesh's Hasina led AL government is tilting towards Beijing and Islamabad, therefore taking full advantage of 'India's diplomatic weaknesses'. In a much crude gesture, Beijing coupled with Islamabad is about to buy off Dhaka, as if, Dhaka has turned into a lucrative commodity in the likes of a rare car hammered in an auction. The highest bidder will get it, and the highest bidder in this case is China.
The point here, for a developing nation as ours, there is little scope to completely tilt on a 'specific side' comparing among the respective strengths of regional powers - India and China. Moreover, our diplomatic goals had been designed at par with the Non - Aligned Movement, though the potency of that non-aligned standpoint no longer exists in today's world. But our regimes here have often been branded, as according to their political colour, creed and preferences.
Take for instance, when it comes to balancing ties with India and China, our successive military regimes, coupled with Mrs. Zia's stints with the power wheel had been politically clear on strong Dhaka - Beijing ties. The problem has actually erupted recently with the party in power that has a wider and traditional pro - Indian branding.
AL's one-sided and overtly close ties with Delhi in the last decade had irritated far too many people here and abroad.
In fact, it is widely assumed that the party in power has given far too much than what it had received from our most important and biggest neighbour. Now the sudden storm erupting in the tea cups raise the questions - why all of a sudden Bangladesh's growing ties with China must seriously concern Delhi? Is Bangladesh walking on the process to turn anti - India in the long run?
This writer's personal observation says, there are manifest paranoia, hysteria and suspicion pointlessly overwhelming much of the brain of Indian intelligence community and its media outlets.
Especially, circulation of all the conspiracy theories surrounding our army chief, invisible intervention of a major superpower, and a supposed pro - Pakistan advisor's burgeoning influence over our PM to our growing ties with China - are enough to label the Indian media portrayal as unprovoked interference in our internal affairs.
Comical as it may read, the media hype flying around actually reminds me of the African proverb - when the mouse laughs at the cat there is a hole nearby. Though Dhaka-Beijing ties have been clearly explained while pointing out where India was failing - there isn't much for the current Indian government to do - flamboyantly marching forward to realise an extreme populist creed.
The hype also reminds me of that famous Winston Churchill saying on diplomacy: Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions. However, Dhaka seems to have stopped asking for directions from Delhi since hell is located not too far from our borders. However, turning to Beijing in order to realise our strategic and joint development goals, doesn't inevitably make us anti - Indian and vice versa. It is on this point where effective strategic partnership matters the most.
I would say that our strategic partnership with China has strengthened because of the two countries' pro-active approach in a changing world order where the Indians have missed the opportunity to reach out us first. And BD-India ties have also stiffened, because of excessive domineering and exploiting attitude from the other side.
I don't want to get into details, since scholarly articles and opinion pieces on BD-India bilateral inequalities are readily available in the public domain.
But by dragging Pakistan into the media sponsored BD - China game of thrones, Indians have actually given a boost to our all time low Pak - Bangla ties. Just imagine the profundity of fear, suspicion and terror to have overwhelmed the Indian journos in the aftermath of the recent 15 minutes Imran - Hasina telephonic conversation. That's not all - the Pak envoy's official meeting with our foreign minister's news coverage and analysis caused such outrage - it seemed Bangladesh has just acquired the Pak nuke technology for building its own bomb.
Whatever jokes apart, when it comes to maintaining sincere and caring bilateral ties - it is important to avoid saying or doing the wrong things at any time. And it's on this point where media plays a crucial role.
Take for instance the handing over of ten second-hand locomotives dumped in Bangladesh. Unashamed and illogical justifications offered by the Indian authorities and its media based on an MOU - are not funny but insulting. And it is even more surprising that such humiliating charity work takes place when Dhaka-Beijing ties are shooting up.
Bottom-line: The paranoia to have gripped the Indian media is harming India the most. Against the backdrop of all these panicking Indian media reports, I just say to myself, listen to what people say when they're mad, that's when the truth comes out.
The writer is assistant editor, News & Editorial, The Daily Observer