Dhaka expresses ‘deep concern’ over India’s onion export ban

Publish: 7:30 PM, September 17, 2020 | Update: 7:30:PM, September 17, 2020

DHAKA,– Bangladesh has officially conveyed its “deep concern” over India’s abrupt decision to ban export of onion a day after the foreign ministry said the country’s high commission in New Delhi was asked to raise the issue with appropriate authority there.

“The latest abrupt announcement of the government of India on 14 September 2020 undermines the discussions that took place in 2019 and 2020 between the two friendly countries on the matter and the understanding shared,” read a foreign ministry letter sent to India through its high commission in Dhaka.

The letter which was made available to Bangladesh media in late hours on Wednesday requested the Indian high commission to convey the message to authorities concerned in Delhi and take necessary measures to resume onion exports taking into consideration the excellent ties of friendship and understanding among the two neighbours.

In the letter, Bangladesh expressed its “deep concern” as the “sudden announcement” of amendment to India’s onion export policy directly affecting the supply of essential food items in Bangladesh market.

It pointed out that a secretary-level meeting between commerce ministries of the two countries held on January 15-16, 2020, Dhaka requested India not to impose export restriction on essential food items required by Bangladesh.

The letter said Bangladesh side during the meeting also requested India to inform Dhaka “ahead of time” even in case of any event necessitating such a restriction.

The matter was also raised by hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh during the VVIP visit to India in October 201, whrein the Bangladesh side requested the Indian side to inform in advance about such measures being taken,” read the letter dated September 15.

On the same day state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam said Dhaka requested New Delhi to revoke its ban on onion export in line with an “unwritten” understanding between that New Delhi would not impose ban on onion export.

Even if, he said, India was required to take such a decision, New Delhi would inform Dhaka beforehand.

“We are expecting a positive result soon in this regard,” he said while talking to reporters at his office here today.