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05DHAKA1296 2005-03-22 09:17:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Dhaka
Cable title:  

Media Reaction: Secretary of State Rice's comments

Tags:   KMDR OIIP OPRC KPAO PREL ETRD PTER ASEC BG OCII 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DHAKA 001296 

SIPDIS

FOR I/FW, B/G, IIP/G/NEA-SA, B/VOA/N (BANGLA SERVICE) STATE
FOR SA/PAB, SA/PPD (LSCENSNY, SSTRYKER), SA/RA, INR/R/MR,
AND PASS TO USAID FOR ANE/ASIA/SA/B (WJOHNSON)

CINCPAC FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR, J51 (MAJ TURNER), J45
(MAJ NICHOLLS)

USARPAC FOR APOP-IM (MAJ HEDRICK)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OIIP OPRC KPAO PREL ETRD PTER ASEC BG OCII
SUBJECT: Media Reaction: Secretary of State Rice's comments
on Bangladesh, Wolfowitz's nomination, Modi's U.S. Visa;
Dhaka


Summary: Commenting on Secretary of State Rice's remarks on
Bangladesh, several editorials see a 'paradigm shift" in the
U.S. position regarding South Asia. Anti-West newspaper
"Inqilab" reports that the U.S. policy is to contain China
through India.
Pro-Islamic "Naya Diganta" criticizes Worlfowitz's
nomination for the post of the World Bank President.
English "New Age" welcomes the rejection of Narendra Modi's
visa by the U.S.
-------------------------------------------


1. U.S. Secretary of State's South Asia Tour


--------------------------


"A Paradigm Shift in US Foreign Policy"
Centrist English language newspaper "News Today" editorially
comments (3/22):

It seems that Condoleezza Rice, the new United States
Secretary of State, is in the process of redefining her

SIPDIS
country's role as the lone super power of the world. She
has used her present swing through Asia to send the
signals. From warning the Europeans that it would be
"irresponsible" to arm China to the remark that "Bangladesh
is becoming quite troubling" everything points to a
strategy that is built around a desire to rule the world.
Her stand against the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is
also an example.

We are particularly shocked by Ms Rice's remarks about
Bangladesh. Like so many other countries, we also have our
problems but nothing that we cannot solve ourselves. Also
they are in our opinion not serious enough to attract the
attention of such an important world personality as Ms
Rice. The remark that "there is more that the US and India
can do" leaves us wondering what that "more" could mean.
The Foreign Office would be well advised to seek a
clarification through diplomatic channels. If Washington
has any reservations it could easily convey them to Dhaka
through diplomatic channels. We shall not be surprised if,
as a result of this public statement, Indo-Bangladesh
relations develop fresh irritants. That would be a problem
that we can do well without.

In the days to come we can expect to see a paradigm shift
in US foreign policy with the emphasis more on ruling than
on leading.



--------------------------


" Condoleezza Rice's Remarks"
Pro-government Bangla language newspaper "Amar Desh"
editorially comments (3/22):
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent remarks on
Bangladesh have generated a lot of discussions in the
country. She said, "Bangladesh is becoming quite
troubling." She did not stop there. There were more
comments before and after the sentence. But she did not
make comments at her own initiative. She only agreed to
what were loaded in the questions raised by the Indian
reporter.... When an official or a policymaker of a country
makes comments and if those comments come from the Secretary
of State of the lone superpower, those comments must be
given importance. The question related not only to
Bangladesh, but also to Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. She
added Afghanistan. That means the U.S. and India will work
together to deal with the troubling situation in the entire
South Asia. For a long time, India has been seeking
recognition from the U.S. to its status of a regional
superpower. Probably, the Secretary of State's remarks
responded positively in this regard.
The announcement that the U.S. and India will work together
must be taken into account. Obviously, Dr. Rice has
considered reports by the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh.
Considering all, the alliance between India and the U.S.
cannot be ruled out.
The issues India and the U.S. have raised are understandable
to our political circles. We firmly believe that we are
capable of resolving these issues ourselves. If the
government and the opposition come forward with goodwill,
these issues can be solved on the basis of a consensus.


--------------------------


"The Latest U.S. Position in the subcontinent: Bangladesh,
care of India?"
An op-ed page article in anti-West Bangla language newspaper
"Inqilab" by Mobaidur Rahman opines (3/22):
The American suggestion came at a time when the Indo-
Bangladesh relations are under tension. Delhi has alleged
that Bangladesh has allowed some Indian rebel groups to
establish their bases inside Bangladesh and anti-Indian
activities are being launched from these bases. The SAARC
summit in Dhaka was postponed at the request of India.
Bangladesh has always rejected these allegations.
In fact, Ms. Rice is implementing Indian agenda through her
remarks. Why are they doing this? Are there not any other
issues between India and Bangladesh besides the so-called
fundamentalism and alleged support to the Indian rebels?
Fundamentalism and Indian rebels are not issues to the 150
million people of this country. Before her visit to India
and Pakistan, several points on the Indo-Bangladesh border
became tense and border polices of the two countries
exchanged fire.
India and Bangladesh have issues that have remained pending
for 30 years. These issues include the demarcation of the
Indo-Bangladesh border, water sharing and the ownership of
an island. Without touching these, why the lone superpower
U.S. and regional superpower India are concerned with only
two issues. India's interest is understandable, but what is
the U.S.'s interest? It is not understandable to many. To
me, it is the result of many calculations and equations.
The objective is the contain China in the coming days. The
U.S. will not do it directly. It will make India more
powerful and contain China through India. To do this, it
needs a peaceful situation in India's northeastern region
involving six provinces bordering Bangladesh and Kashmir on
the Pakistan border.


--------------------------




2. Wolfowitz's Nomination


--------------------------


"U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense For the Post of the World
Bank President: A Controversial Person Should Not Be
Nominated"
Pro-Islamic Bangla language newspaper "Naya Diganta"
Editorially comments (3/22):
President Bush has nominated U.S. Deputy Secretary of
Defense Wolfowitz for the post of the World Bank president.
Wolfowitz is known and criticized as the main planner of the
American military campaign in Iraq. As a result, his
nomination has created a sharp international reaction. Some
aid agencies have criticized the nomination of such a
controversial person.
U.S. presidents nominate persons to the position according
to their wishes. Any nomination by the U.S. President to
any important position is to be approved by the Senate, but
not in the case of the World Bank. Congressional hearing is
not needed for the nomination for the post of the World Bank
President. As a result, the World Bank becomes an
instrument of the U.S. to fulfill its wishes and dominate
the world economy. This fear intensifies with the emergence
of the U.S. as the lone superpower and its attempts to
extend influence in the name of globalization.


--------------------------




3. Cancellation of Narendra Modi's U.S. Visa


--------------------------


"Move Against Modi"
Independent English language newspaper "New Age" editorially
comments (3/22)
The decision by the American authorities to cancel Gujarat
Chief Minister Narendra Modi's visa is perhaps a good one in
the long term. It is that because we think there ought to
come moments when someone ought to be able to point out
plain wrong committed by individuals. Whether or not Modi
had a role to play in the riots of a few years ago is yet to
be decisively noted. But there is hardly any question that
as the most powerful man in the state, he did not take the
kind of moves that were expected of him once Hindus and
Muslims went after one another. The fact that Modi has
continued to be chief minister through re-election does not
alter the fact that he did not take moral responsibility for
the carnage and did not consider resigning.

There are tales aplenty of politicians amassing wealth in so
many poor societies. There are bureaucrats in countries
whose involvement in economic wrongdoing has made life
difficult for tens of thousands. It is in such cases that
civilized societies must act, through denying the corrupt
the right of travel to foreign lands and the like. The
action against Narendra Modi is a good beginning. It should
be sustained, and expanded to include other areas.
THOMAS