April 2, 2007Foreign Affairs

Dhaka’s general disparages democracy

India must disabuse the generals before they dismiss democracy

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

One more army general blames elections and democracy for the sorry affairs of state in his country. This time it is Lt Gen Moeen U Ahmed, the power behind the caretaker dispensation in Bangladesh. Elective’ (sic) democracy, he said recently, led to corruption, so Bangladesh must construct its own brand of democracy’.

We know only too well where that path leads.

The caretaker government has been more receptive—at least in form—to India’s interests than its predecessor. That and the crisis that threatened to destabilise Bangladesh has so far blunted any strong criticism from New Delhi. Gen Moeen’s comment deserve an appropriate response from India—that it’s not the army’s job to pass verdict on Bangladesh’s constitutional set-up. Unless India delivers the little nudges at the right time at the right place, it will find itself having to deliver a shove. And shoving, India should know by now, is neither easy nor painless.

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