Natwar Singh delivers a letter to PM Khaleda Zia in Dhaka: Below,
Asia Tribune Story Echoes in Dhaka During Natwar Singh Visit
August 11: Journalists and Government officials in Bangladesh
have expressed surprise over newspaper reports here that Indian
intelligence agencies offer “handsome money” to journalists
to write articles against Bangladesh, and two other neighboring
newspapers carried a report of an Indian journalist on the day
Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh left Dhaka for Delhi
at the end of three-day ‘goodwill’ visit claiming
to have broken the deadlock and dispelling the mistrust"
between the two neighboring countries in their bilateral relations.
New Nation of Bangladesh carried the entire South Asia Tribune
story written by Arun Rajnath on August 6. Click
visit can be called fruitful; we have re-established the contact
at the highest level in the spirit of cordiality, goodwill and
friendship," Natwar Singh told journalists at Zia International
Airport prior to his departure. Foreign
Minister M Morshed Khan was present at the airport to see off
his Indian counterpart.
newspapers quoted Arun Rajnath, New Delhi correspondent of the
Washington-based online newspaper South Asian Tribune,
as reporting that he was offered Rs10,000 per month to write a
story against Bangladesh, Pakistan or Nepal.
Rajnath’s revelation was published in a special report of
the newspaper headlined ‘Indian Officials Harassing
South Asia Tribune New Delhi Correspondent’ on July
The report, which detailed description of the Indian intelligence
agencies’ clout among Indian journalists, captures glimpses
of harassment of journalists who refuse to comply with official
After refusing to be on the payroll of an intelligence agency,
Rajnath, who writes on the Indian army and Kashmir, was refused
accreditation by the External Affairs Ministry, and he became
the target of frequent intimidating phone calls from intelligence
correspondent claimed that many top Indian journalists covering
news relating to ministries of external affairs, home, and defence
were on the payroll of the security agencies or the ministries
concerned, and regularly receive “handsome compensation
Commenting on the report, a Bangladeshi intelligence expert said
they have reports that not only Indian journalists, but also a
number of Bangladeshi writers are on the payroll of Indian sources.
Mentioning a lack of resources and motivation on the part of Bangladesh’s
intelligence agencies, he said, “very little can be done
in the existing situation”.
It may be mentioned here that a high profile civil society forum
of India yesterday observed that a number of issues between Dhaka
and Delhi are negatively portrayed and misinterpreted in the Bangladesh
media. The forum held that a free trade agreement between the
two countries would be beneficial for Bangladesh.
The forum of Indian parliamentarians, former bureaucrats and economists
felt that Bangladesh’s position in bilateral trade with
the neighbor will be stronger if there is a free trade agreement
and an increased level of Indian investment in Bangladesh.
“Some issues including bilateral trade gap between India
and Bangladesh are negatively focused in the media,” Deb
Mukherjee, leader of the forum, told journalists. The Center for
Policy Dialogue of Bangladesh and the India International Center,
a Delhi based organization jointly organized the dialogue focusing
on trade and commerce.
report was published in the Gulf Times, Doha, Qatar.
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