NEW DELHI, Nov 20 - Asserting that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an internal matter of India, outgoing Bangladesh High Commissioner, Syed Muazzem Ali said that Bangladeshis nowadays rather prefer to go to some Mediterranean country rather than neighbouring North-east.
Interacting with newsmen ahead of his retirement at the Press Club of India, the High Commissioner remarked the illegal immigration from Bangladesh has become a highly politicised issue in India. The politics of influx is for the political parties and a domestic issue. He remarked that India is no longer a favourite destination of Bangladeshis, replying to a question whether India has ever taken up the issue of illegal migration at the diplomatic level.
He said that the per capita income of Bangladesh is higher than that of India and there is no reason to migrate to North-east, he commented.
He also mentioned that there is no significant rise in number Bangladeshi nationals who come with visa overstaying in India. To tackle such cases there is a well built diplomatic mechanism.
�Influx will cease to exist if the two nations come together and tackle the challenges of sharing common resources,� the High Commissioner said.
About the NRC, he said that India has conveyed to Bangladesh that it is its internal matter. �Until and unless they raise it with us it cannot become a bilateral issue,� he argued.
�But we are quite conscious of what is happening and we should move forward,� Ali said.
Describing the signing of the land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh as a major achievement that took place during his tenure, he said that out of 50,000 people, 35000 opted to remain with Bangladesh, while only 14000 preferred to come to India.
In his opening remarks, the High Commissioner said that connectivity is the key to building relations between the two countries. He named direct train service between Kolkata and Dhaka and steamer service.
He said that once the Akhoura-Agartala train service becomes operational the entire exports of the North-east will be able to reach Chittagong port in two hours.
He further added that the Bangladesh Consulate in Agartala has been upgraded, while it has another one in Guwahati. The next target is to set up another consulate in Chennai.