Manmohan to advise upholding relations with B'desh, China

Manmohan to advise upholding relations with B’desh, China

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The outgoing Congress-led UPA government will leave behind a ‘note’ on foreign policy issues for the incoming BJP-led NDA government — with a request to carry forward the improving relations with China and Bangladesh.
A top official of the outgoing Manmohan Singh government told journalists that the ‘handover note’ would be left behind by the current National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon for his inevitable successor.
Menon will resign once Manmohan Singh formally resigns as Prime Minister after the President invites Narendra Modi to form the next government.It is not yet clear who Modi will appoint as the country’s next National Security Advisor. But it is certain that Menon will not stay on and perhaps will not be offered to continue.
The position of NSA in India is regime-specific. Brajesh Mishra was PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NSA but left once BJP lost in 2004. Manmohan’s first NSA was former foreign secretary JN Dixit.
After his sudden death, former IB Chief MK Narayanan took over as NSA. But after the 2008 Bombay attack by Pakistani terrorists, he was shunted off to West Bengal as Governor and replaced by former foreign secretary Menon.
The conduct of Indian foreign policy has been increasingly controlled by the PM office through the NSA in recent years since the days of Brajesh Mishra and Dixit.
The top official, who did not want to be named, said the ‘hand-over’ note that Menon will leave behind for his successor would focus on two countries — China and Bangladesh.
Menon was the architect of restoring relations with China after it nosedived last summer over Chinese incursions across the Line of Actual Control.
He intervened decisively to take forward Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid’s Beijing visit in May 2013, which was followed by Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Delhi the same month.
In October 2013, Manmohan Singh visited Beijing and the two nations signed a border defence cooperation agreement to curb tensions on the Himalayan border.
The official said Menon would seek to impress on the need to carry forward the growing relations with China.
That may actually be what Modi may also do on his own.
On Bangladesh, the note was likely to stress the ‘importance of a friendly regime in Dhaka’ to ensure India’s security and connectivity concerns.
The official said NSA is likely to advice the incoming administration ‘not to do anything to rock the boat of the present regime in Dhaka’.
There is some concern in the outgoing administration over Narendra Modi’s tirade against so-called infiltration from Bangladesh.
“But if there is any pushback, it will complicate bilateral relations. The present administration is against any provocative action that will embarrass the Hasina government and that will be communicated to the incoming administration,” the official said.
Modi has however hinted at not pushing the issue when he told journalists recently that many things are raised during election campaigns but ‘governance is a different issue’.
It will also be a part of the advice package that the proposed Teesta Waters treaty should be signed with Bangladesh and the land boundary agreement be implemented.
The decisive majority won by Modi’s BJP-led NDA will make it easy for it to push through both, if they so decide — because the UPA has a majority in Rajya Sabha and will not oppose either agreement to be implemented, should Modi decide to push them through, despite Mamata Banerji’s opposition.-bdnews24.com

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