India won't 'broker any deal or mediate' in Bangladesh: India

IndiaForeign Secretary Sujatha Singh meets Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka. (PTI)

India on Wednesday said it will not "broker any deal or mediate" between Bangladesh's feuding political parties though it wants the successful completion of the country's troubled election process.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who today met top Bangladeshi leaders amid a standoff between the two main political parties over the January 5 general election, said she was not "here to broker any deal or mediate" among the rival parties.

"But I told them India wants the successful completion of the election process," she said at an interaction with a small group of Bangladeshi journalists after meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her arch-rival, BNP chief Khaleda Zia.

Asked if India wants to see inclusive polls with the participation of all major parties, Singh said, "Yes, in any election, participation of maximum number of parties is expected. We would like to see the election here with participation of as many as parties as possible."

In an apparent reference to the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party's decision to boycott the polls, she added,

"The opposition has an important role to play in any democracy, and Bangladesh is no different."

A face-off between the Awami League and BNP has triggered widespread violence that has claimed over 50 lives.

An 18-party opposition alliance has enforced several nationwide blockades to press for the postponement of the polls and the BNP today delivered a fresh ultimatum to install a "non-party" caretaker government by Thursday, failing which it would launch further protests.

Singh said, "This is an important time for Bangladesh. Elections are an intrinsic part of the democratic process... Political parties are the pillars of democracy. As a fellow democracy, India hopes that the forthcoming elections will strengthen democratic institutions, practises and processes in Bangladesh."

India hopes the elections will respond to the aspirations of Bangladeshi people and will be free, fair, impartial and peaceful and find wide acceptability, she said.

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