Foreign Policy Watch: India-Bangladesh

India- Bangladesh Bilateral Relations   


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Bordering Indian states with Bangladesh

Mains level: India-Bangladesh Relations and the Teesta Water Dispute

Why in the news? 

Shortly after Hasina commenced her two-day state visit to India, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar convened with her to discuss several bilateral matters.

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Visit to India

Purpose of Visit: To boost bilateral ties between India and Bangladesh.

  • Sheikh Hasina will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Meetings with President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.
  • Bilateral cooperation in security, trade, commerce, energy, connectivity, science and technology, defence, and maritime affairs. Potential agreements in various sectors to enhance cooperation.

India-Bangladesh Relations and the Teesta Water Dispute

Bilateral Relations: 

  • Strategic Importance: Bangladesh is a key partner under India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy.
  • Trade: Bangladesh is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia. India is the second biggest trade partner of Bangladesh in Asia.
  • Connectivity: The Maitri Setu bridge over river Feni in Tripura and the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link are notable projects.
  • Development Partnership: Bangladesh is India’s largest development partner with significant commitments under the Line of Credit.
  • Border Cooperation: Active cooperation on police matters, anti-corruption activities, combating illicit drug trafficking, fake currency, and human trafficking.

Teesta Water Dispute:

  • Controversy: The sharing of Teesta River water has been a contentious issue between India and Bangladesh, affecting bilateral relations.
  • Current Status: Discussions and negotiations are ongoing to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Way Forward

  • Enhanced Bilateral Cooperation: Continue to strengthen ties through regular high-level visits and dialogues.
  • Resolution of Teesta Dispute: Focus on finding a fair and sustainable solution to the Teesta water-sharing issue to improve relations.
  • Economic Integration: Expand trade and investment opportunities to boost economic ties.
  • Infrastructure Development: Further develop connectivity projects to enhance trade and people-to-people exchanges.
  • Security Cooperation: Strengthen cooperation on security issues, including counter-terrorism and border management.
  • Cultural and Educational Exchanges: Promote cultural and educational exchanges to build stronger people-to-people ties.

Mains PYQ:

Q Critically examine the compulsions which prompted India to play a decisive role in the emergence of Bangladesh.(UPSC IAS/2013)

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