During the recently held India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, India termed Bangladesh's national election an 'internal matter'.
Soon after the event, the US Government sent letters to three major political parties in Bangladesh, calling for 'dialogue without preconditions'.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Council of the UN, in its periodic review of the human rights situation in Bangladesh expressed 'grave concerns over the severe crackdown against workers demanding fair wages and political activists calling for free and fair elections, judicial harassment of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society leaders, and failure to reform laws suppressing freedom of expression in Bangladesh.'
Groups of people loyal to the incumbent Awami League-led government, and even some in the media, have expressed dissatisfaction with the US move, describing it as 'interference' as an internal matter of an independent and sovereign country.
Unfortunately, the party in power describes any observation from external forces on domestic issues as interference, giving it a negative connotation.
In theory, it is interference. But can any party in power claim that they never accepted such 'interference' earlier when they were not in power?
At the same time, the countries in question also cannot claim they did not interfere in Bangladesh's internal matters in the past. Historically, powerful states have interfered in Bangladesh's internal matters.
India did it in 2014, but at present, the Indian government has tried to take on a neutral role. Such double standards seem like 'hypocrisy' to me.
Whether there should be such external interference is a debatable issue. But such interference prevails, and powerful external forces find space to dominate when there is no 'modus vivendi' among the country's political parties.
India and the US are strategic partners. However, the two countries are taking different approaches while 'supporting' a free and fair election in Bangladesh. This difference has been created due to their national interests. In international relations theory, decisions are always taken based on national interest. At times, group interests can take precedence, but it is mostly about national interest.
The US is advocating for a free and fair election in Bangladesh. They are doing it out of their national interest. You can debate whether that is a right or wrong approach, but it also happens that this interest aligns with the wishes of the general people of Bangladesh.
The general people of Bangladesh, excluding the people loyal to the incumbent government, wish for a free and fair national elections in which they can cast their votes duly and see a fair result.
The alignment of US interests with the wishes of Bangladesh's general people could be compared with the Independence War of 1971, when the interests of India and the interests of independence-seeking Bangali people also aligned.