Foreign Policy Watch: India-Bangladesh

India Bangladesh Relations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : bilateral ties

bangladeshContext

  • Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to India to boost bilateral ties.

India-Bangladesh ties background

  • India’s links with Bangladesh are civilization, cultural, social and economic.
  • There is much that unites the two countries – a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, passion for music, literature and the arts.
  • India was one of the first countries, along with Bhutan, to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign state on 6 December 1971.
  • It is also worth recalling that India shares its longest border of 4,096.7 kilometres with Bangladesh, which is also the fifth-longest border in the contemporary world.

bangladeshTrade between two

  • CEPA: Trade will be a focal point during Ms. Hasina’s visit as the two countries gear up to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
  • Bangladesh dependency: Bangladesh imports critical industrial raw material from India on which its exports are reliant.
  • Leveraging Indian support: Bangladesh also could improve several manufacturing industries by leveraging Indian expertise in service sectors.

bangladeshConnectivity

  • IMT highway: Bangladesh has expressed its interest in joining the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway project.
  • Waterway: India-Bangladesh bilateral waterway trade will get boosted as India can now use the Mongla and Chittagong ports.
  • Logistics: India’s Northeast and Bangladesh is important for bilateral cooperation. Currently, three express trains and international bus services operate between Indian and Bangladesh.

Key data to remember

Bangladesh is India’s sixth largest trade partner with bilateral trade rising from $2.4 billion in 2009 to $10.8 billion in 2020-21.

Regional geopolitics

  • Chinese influence: Chinese inroads into the neighbourhood have been a cause of worry for India. China has been actively pursuing bilateral ties with Bangladesh. Bangladesh had successfully approached China for a mega project to enhance Teesta river water flow.
  • Strategic location: From the perspective of India’s Northeast, Bangladesh is India’s most strategic neighbour, whom New Delhi cannot ever afford to ignore.
  • Cooperation needed: India’s dream of ‘Act East Policy’ can only be materialized with the helping hands of Dhaka.
  • Gateway to northeast: The bridge ‘Maitri Setu’ has been built over the Feni River which flows between the Indian boundary in Tripura State and Bangladesh. It is set to become the ‘Gateway of North East’ with access to Chittagong Port of Bangladesh, which is just 80 kms from Sabroom.

Way forward

  • The future will present itself with an abundance of opportunities to help the two countries to reach a new plane of bilateral relations higher than ever before.
  • Both nations should play their diplomatic cards with more maturity and pragmatism, keeping the regional aspirations and nuances of both countries in mind.
  • A judicious aggregation of regional expectations on both sides of the border will help in achieving their mutual national objectives.
  • To make the recent gains irreversible, both countries need to continue working on the three Cs — cooperation, collaboration, and consolidation.

Conclusion

  • For India it will take more than cosy relations with one particular government to have long-term stable relations with its most trusted friend in the neighbourhood.

Mains question

Q. Do you think Bangladesh is most trusted friend in the neighbourhood? Discuss bilateral relations between two in terms of trade, connectivity and geopolitics.

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Alexander Michael
Alexander Michael
3 months ago

I am from Bangladesh and the relationship between India and Bangladesh is really good because in these countries everything is the same civilization, cultural, social, and economic. My dad gifted me a good Indian basketballshoesplus

Last edited 3 months ago by Alexander Michael
Lucyan Mamisa
Lucyan Mamisa
2 months ago

I totally agree with you Michael bloxorz

Last edited 2 months ago by Lucyan Mamisa