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Bangladesh's new foreign minister Hasan Mahmud appreciates India's stance over election

The BNP had demanded the polls-time non-party caretaker government for election oversight

Bangladeshs new foreign minister Hasan Mahmud appreciates Indias stance over election

Bangladesh's new foreign minister Hasan Mahmud on Monday appreciated India's stance over its election that reinstalled Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Awami League party for the fourth consecutive term while the polls were boycotted by major opposition BNP.

Mahmud said there were conspiracies to tamper with the 2014 elections and "efforts were made to make the 2018 elections controversial and questionable and during both events India was on our side."

Major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia boycotted the January 7 polls saying that no election under Hasina's government would be fair and credible.

The BNP had demanded the polls-time non-party caretaker government for election oversight.

The Western powers, including the United States, earlier called for credible and inclusive polls and after the January 7 election they agreed to continue bilateral relations but expressed their reservation about the voting saying it was not free and fair.

The US State Department said Washington was concerned by reports of vote irregularities and condemned violence that took place.

The UK said: Democratic elections depend on credible, open, and fair competitions (and) respect for human rights, rule of law and due process are essential elements of the democratic process."

These standards were not consistently met during the election period. We are concerned at the significant number of arrests of opposition party members before polling day, the UK statement said.

India earlier called the Bangladesh election an internal matter while it was one of the first countries to welcome Hasina's new government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Hasina to congratulate on her historic election victory.

Modi told Hasina that New Delhi was committed to further strengthening the partnership with Bangladesh in different sectors.

Bangladesh's new government also drew congratulations from China, Russia and almost all Middle Eastern nations including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Iran.

In her first media appearance, Hasina also called India a great friend, recalling that it stood by Bangladesh in its 1971 Liberation War, and sheltered her following the 1975 assassination of her father and country's founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Mahmud said he received an invitation from his Indian counterpart Dr. S Jaishankar and expected New Delhi to be his first destination for a bilateral visit at a convenient time.

He, however, is set to visit Uganda to join the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, a multilateral event, this week.

A foreign ministry statement, meanwhile, said during the meeting Mahmud expressed satisfaction with the existing bilateral relations between the two closest neighbours and hoped to work closely with India in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Indian envoy congratulated the foreign minister and termed 2023 as one of the most successful years in Dhaka-Delhi ties citing several notable achievements like the inauguration of a few projects related to connectivity and power.

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