New Delhi: Bangladeshis would rather swim in the ocean and reach Italy than come to India, the country’s outgoing envoy to New Delhi, Syed Muazzem Ali, said in a farewell speech. The Hindu reported Wednesday that Ali said the per capita income in India “is not that high”.
His statement comes as India’s political discourse finds itself increasingly polarised by the BJP’s bid to eject illegal Bangladeshi immigrants from the country.
Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an exercise in this direction, and seeks to expel immigrants who came to India after 1971. Home Minister Amit Shah, who has referred to illegal immigrants as “termites” more than once, said in Parliament Wednesday that there will be an NRC for the entire country.
‘Issue used during elections’
Speaking at the Press Club of India Tuesday, Ali said the issue of illegal immigration was used during the Indian elections.
“There has been so much criticism of Bangladesh in Northeast India because of alleged illegal immigration from our side… ,” he added. “But let me tell you that a person of my country would rather swim in the ocean and reach Italy instead of coming to India. A citizen of Bangladesh would like to go to a place where he can earn more, but as you know the per capita income in India is not that high,” The Hindu quoted him as having said.
Economically, Bangladesh is reportedly pegged on stronger footing than India. The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in its October 2019 report, revised Bangladesh’s GDP growth for 2019 from 8 per cent to 8.1 per cent. The forecast for India, meanwhile, was revised from 7.2 to 6.5 per cent.