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"After Maldives, 'India Out' Campaign in Bangladesh Faces a 'Fitting' Reality Check"

'India Out' campaign run by the opposition in Bangladesh received a strong reality check. The Bangladesh National Party (BNP) has been stoking anti-India sentiment in the country in a bid to stay relevant and make electoral gains. Their campaign has been centred around boycotting made-in-India products.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, known for maintaining close ties with New Delhi, shut the lot down quickly.

Last week, on Bangladesh's Independence Day on March 26, Hasina lashed out at BNP for their India Out campaign.

Hitting out at the opposition, she asked them to get rid of Indian products in their homes first before calling for boycotts.

“How many Indian saris do their wives have?” she asked.

Hasina said that when the opposition leaders "burn their wives’ Indian saris in front of their party office, only then will it be proven that they are truly committed to boycotting Indian products.”

The swift shutting down of the malicious campaign against Indian influence in the country is reminiscent of what happened in Maldives.

Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu's party, People's National Congress, pressed hard on an “India out” campaign. Muizzu himself actively projected New Delhi as a hegemon. He has repeatedly called India a bully and asked Indian troops to leave Maldives as well.

With this, Muizzu managed to strike a nationalist chord and reaped its political benefits. He also aligned himself with China and Xi Jinping.

Then came his U-turn on the entire affair. India went from being a bully and a regional hegemon to a great friend. Muizzu told a local publication that "India will continue to remain the Maldives’ closest ally, there is no question about it."

His change of heart was likely spurred by a reality check that the Maldives' financial situation gave him. According to one report, at the end of 2023, the country owed India around $400.9 million.

With the Maldivian economy weighed down by significant loans from India, Muizzu requested more lenient terms for loan repayments to relieve the financial pressure on his nation.


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