Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, straddled a delicate diplomatic line when she responded to a question about balancing her nation’s relations with both China and India. Prior to her State visit to India, Hasina stated that Bangladesh’s foreign policy is “friendship to all, malice to none” in an interview. She continued by stating that the focus should be on improvising the lives of people, mentioning that the countries have only one common enemy – poverty.
While recalling the role of her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in making Bangladesh’s foreign policy, Hasina said, “Our foreign policy is very clear. Friendship to all, malice to none, which my father, father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he uttered this in his address in UNO. And we follow his ideology.”
Hasina added, “And my point is that we should focus on our people. How to give them a better life? How to improve their life? And I am always saying that we have only one enemy. That is poverty. So let us work together.”
Hasina emphasized that she would not meddle in India-China problems and that leading nations should always resolve disagreements through discussion.
“And I always feel that yes, if there is any problem which is between China and India but I don’t want to put my nose to that. I want the development of my country and because India is our next-door neighbour, we have a very good relationship. We had many bilateral problems it’s true, but we solve many problems… you know that” she said.
In regards to the Rohingya refugees, Sheikh Hasina stated that Bangladesh is contacting the international community to assure their return to their country of origin, and she also believed that India might play a significant role in getting a solution.
Bangladesh PM added, “Well you know… for us it’s a big burden. India is a vast country; you can accommodate but you don’t have much. But in our country… we have 1.1 million Rohingya. So well… we are consulting with the international community and also our neighbouring countries, they should also take some steps so that they can go back home.”