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Bangladesh defends Indian security deployment at embassy

December 31, 2009 14:30 IST

Bangladesh said on Thursady that foreign embassies could deploy their own security personnel to guard their premises, dismissing opposition criticism over reports that India had sent a 50 member security squad for to secure its mission. "The foreign missions can undertake steps on their own for the security and carry out other programmes inside their premises under the Vienna Convention," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

She added that the premises of the foreign embassies were beyond the purview of the domestic law of the host countries. The foreign office comments came a day after newspapers reported that India sent a 50-member security team for its embassy and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party expressed concerns that their deployment could undermine Bangladesh's "sovereignty".

Meanwhile, Home Minister Sahara Khatun's comment two days ago that said she was unaware about India's move to deploy its own security personnel at the high commission, came in for criticism by her party. Official sources said Khatun came under criticism by her cabinet colleagues for making "confusing comments" at a cabinet meeting with Premier Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday night. A senior official said Hasina asked Khatun to talk to media only after making herself aware of the facts, while a senior minister at the meeting said that a foreign embassy premise was a sovereign area of that country and that is why they hoist their national flags there.

Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes earlier this week brushed aside opposition concerns that the security arrangement inside an embassy was an internal matter of the country concerned. "The foreign embassy or high commission compound is the sovereign area of that particular country," he said. BNP secretary general Khandaker Delwar Hossain last week expressed concerns over the reported deployment of the Indian security force saying: "It is not acceptable at all and people of an independent country will not accept it in any way". Indian High Commission in Dhaka, however declined to comment on the matter saying it was their "principled stand" not to make any comment on security matters.

The reports came a month after police arrested four suspected Pakistani and Bangladeshi operatives of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba who allegedly planned to carry out an attack on the Indian High Commission and US embassy in Dhaka. A subsequent email threat by unidentified senders prompted Bangladesh authorities to intensify the security of the Indian envoy in Dhaka and its high commission in the capital.

Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
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