Modi takes jibes at Pakistan over scuttling SAARC connectivity, FCN

Dhaka, (IANS) Indian prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday took a jibe at Pakistan for scuttling SAARC connectivity projects while citing the successful forward movement of connectivity projects of the sub-regional grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) in the field of power and motorways.

Referring to the SAARC grouping during his address at Dhaka University, Modi said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was keen to push for connectivity, and easy travel.

“But everyone is not Bangladesh,” he said, referring to India’s western neighbor Pakistan, which sabotaged a SAARC powergrid project and a Motor Vehicles agreement at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu last November.

“Our car could not go on the track (because of Pakistan’s refusing to ink the agreements) but should we wait,” he said.

“Today we can say with pride that BBNIN has made connectivity their priority.”

Referring to the European Union, he said the bloc was successful due to easy travel and connectivity.

“Saare chalein ya na chalein, kuch to chal parey hain (all may or may not walk along, but some have moved on),” he said.

He said the sub-regional grouping was to move ahead with connectivity in the field of rail, road, air and even ocean.

He said the entire SAARC region is seen from a satellite looks dark as there is no electricity in the villages. “If we work together under BBIN I don’t think there will be darkness in the region,” he said.

In another reference to the connectivity in power, he said that in the spirit of “saath saath” or togetherness, Bangladesh helped India by allowing transportation of heavy electricity equipment through its territory for the power plant at Paltan. “We could not have done it without Bangladesh’s help, and now 100 MW has started coming to Bangladesh from Paltan,” he said, adding that India has decided to provide 1,000 MW in the future.

Referring to the decision to crack down on fake currency notes, he said that Bangladesh was being blamed for the handiwork of others, referring to Pakistan which is believed to be routing large quantities of FCN to India through Bangladesh and Nepal.

“Both have decided to crack down on fake currency notes; in this case it is some one else does the work and someone else reaps the blame. Bangladesh has been blamed for it,” he said, lauding Bangladesh for its tough steps on cracking down on FCN.

In another instance in the speech, referring to India’s bid for a UN Security Council permanent seat, he said that during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War Indian soldiers gave their blood along with the muktijoddhas (freedom fighters) for the independence of Bangladesh. He said 90,000 Pakistani soldiers who committed “zulm” (crime) on Bangladesh were made to surrender by India.

“India made the 90,000 who did ‘zulm’ on Bangladesh, surrender. That Pakistan which keeps troubling India every day, and terrorism is troubling us every day. We had 90,000 Pakistani POWs and we did nothing, But this (liberal mindedness) is India’s character, our soldiers’ character. We thought of Bangladesh’s progress and we sent back the 90,000 soldiers,” he said.

He did mention Pakistan among other Asian nations, Aincluding India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, which have had women heading the government and repeatedly.

China too did not escape Modi’s verbal target, though obliquely.

Referring to the LBA, he said times have changed in the world and is not gauged according to the territorial gains of a country. “In this world, vistarvaad (expansionism) has no place and the countries only want vikasvaad (progress),” he said.

“This is the main thinking that very few have been able to think along. The LBA, is it just a land dispute that has been solved, or a matter of a few km land here and there. This is an agreement to join hearts,” he said.

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