Foreign Policy Watch: India-Bangladesh

Mar, 05, 2019

Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Mainamati Maitree

Mains level:  Not Much


  • Border Security Force (BSF) and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) has concluded a three-day ‘Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019’ as a part of ‘Confidence Building Measures’ between the two border guards.

Mainamati Maitree Exercise 2019

  • The exercise was named after a hill range situated 8 km west of Comilla Township in Bangladesh, which is home to an ancient Buddhist archaeological site in the region.
  • The main objective of this exercise was to plan and conduct anti-smuggling and anti-criminal activity related operations with ultimate aim of achieving better joint operational efficiency and border management in the area.
  • A series of joint exercises and exchanges are being held in the Tripura-Bangla frontier illegal incursions by Rohingya people.
Jan, 08, 2019

[op-ed snap] The Centre moves East


Mains Paper 2: IR| India and its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAARC, BIMSTEC, BCIM.

Mains level: The newscard discusses impact of B’desh election result on the sub-continent, in a brief manner.


  • Sheikh Hasina’s party, which leads the Grand Alliance, has romped back to power for an unprecedented fourth term in office.
  • The general election has given the Grand Alliance, or, more specifically, the Awami League, a huge majority in the Jatiyo Sangshad, the country’s Parliament, to a point where no effective Opposition is in sight.


What is India’s interest in the Bangladesh elections? Given India was an active player in the birth of this 47-year-old nation, Delhi has always looked out for Dhaka.

For India, Bangladesh is important for numerous reasons.

  1. Connectivity
  • Perhaps on top of the list is connectivity between India’s mainland and the crucial northeast, which is part of India’s “Look East” Policy.
  • The only connection between India’s mainland and the northeast was the Chicken’s Neck – a narrow strip of land that has always been a huge security concern. Snap the chicken’s neck and a huge part of the country is cut off.
  • India and Bangladesh have signed several pacts, so India can actually send goods and passengers over land across Bangladesh, connecting Bengal to Tripura.
  • Chittagong port, too, is now open to Indian vessels and will ease supply of goods, meaning India is much more connected to the northeast than before.
  1. Security
  • The other part of ensuring the security of the northeast is by ensuring that Bangladesh does not become a shelter for its insurgents.
  • It had played a sterling role, flushing out northeastern terrorists from Bangladesh and even handing over the once-dreaded ULFA terrorist Anup Chetia to India.
  • The other big security concern for India is that Bangladesh should not turn into the frontline of Islamic terror in the southeast — something that looked possible in the early 2000s when the Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh, or the JMB, ruled the roost and its leaders like Bangla Bhai terrorised not just Bangladesh but India too. Bangladesh turned into a launchpad for Islamic terror activities in India.
  • It was Sheikh Hasina who proactively cracked down on groups like the JMB that had a free-run in the previous regime of Begum Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
  • India’s relationship with Bangladesh is also linked to its relationship with China. India does not want Bangladesh to become a pearl in China’s “String of Pearls” strategy to hem in India by using its neighbours.
  • Given Bangladesh’s GDP and economic growth, the Indian industry is taking a serious interest in investing in the country. Sheikh Hasina has helmed an economic upswing in the country which the industry hopes will continue.

Significance of this election

  • First, for the first time in a decade, all the political parties took part in the election (the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or the BNP, boycotted the 2014 election). In other words, this time voting was based on an inclusive election.
  • Second, this was the first time a general election was held under a political governmentsince the fall of the Hussain Muhammad Ershad military regime in 1990.
  • The earlier stipulation of elections being supervised by a caretaker administration.
  • It stuck to the justified position that a government elected for five years cannot morally and logicallyhand over power to an unelected administration for three months before a new elected government comes into office.

Bangladesh transformation under the critical leadership of Sheikh Hasina

  • Bangladesh has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Its per capita income has doubled over the last decade. It is all set to leave the category of “least developed countries”.
  • Hasina’s ambition is to accelerate the annual economic growth rate from the current 7 per cent to nearly 10 per cent by the time Bangladesh celebrates its 50th birthday in 2021.

What does this economic transformation of Bangladesh mean for the Subcontinent as a whole?

  1. Economic model
  • It has begun to change the economic hierarchy in the region, by displacing Pakistan in the second spot.
  • The per capita income and aggregate GDP of Bangladesh are $1800 and $275 bn respectively, is now larger than that of Pakistan’s at about $1600 and $310 bn.
  • Thus, there is urging in Islamabad to adopt the “Bangladesh model” — where the focus is on economic development rather than political adventurism and promoting religious moderation instead of extremism.
  1. Shift in centre of gravity
  • It alters the balance within South Asia by tilting the region’s economic centre of gravity towards the east.
  • The economic advancement of Bangladesh helps lift up the whole of the eastern Subcontinent, including India’s Northeast as well as Bhutan and Nepal.
  • It had chosen the path of regional cooperation, i.e. helped found the SAARC in the mid-1980s, re-vitalisation of the BIMSTEC forum.
  • Bangladesh is also critical for the success of Beijing’s plans to integrate its Yunnan province with Myanmar, Bangladesh and eastern India.
  1. Peaceful resolution of territorial issues
  • Bangladesh have peacefully resolved its maritime territorial issues with India and Burma through arbitration.
  • That opens up significant room for maritime economic and security cooperation within the Bay of Bengal. That in turn will deepen the integration between eastern Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Maintaining Balance in the Foreign Policy

  1. In the field of foreign affairs, the government has based its approach to the outside world on pragmatism, thus successfully preserving a balance in Bangladesh’s relations with India, China and Russia.
  2. The government has also found appreciation from the international communityin its treatment of the Rohingya refugees nearly 1 million refugees have found shelter in Bangladesh following their expulsion from Myanmar.
  3. It has gone out of its way to ensure the safety of the refugees even as it tries, rather fitfully, to strike a deal with Myanmar on the return of the Rohingya.
  4. For China, the most desirable long-term outcome would be to manage its relations with Dhaka in such a manner that Indian anxieties are assuaged and a regional win-win framework linking China-Bangladesh-India is a possibility.

Way forward

  1. The current challenges for Hasina are to consolidate her domestic agenda and balance her country’s relations with India and China the neighboring giants.
  2. While India enabled the creation of Bangladesh, it is a complex relationshipwith a number of areas of discord, including illegal immigration.
  3. In the next five years, it will be the government’s responsibilityto go beyond an emphasis on economic progress to ensure rule of law and democracy, in the form of a properly functional Parliament, a free judiciary, and an efficient executive.
  4. The rise of Bangladesh and the expanding regional cooperation centred around it allows us to imagine a positive future for the Eastern subcontinent and its integration with the dynamic East Asian region.

With inputs from: NDTV

Jan, 02, 2019

[op-ed snap]: Burden of Victory


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nothing much

Mains level: India-Bangladesh bilateral relations.


  • Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has won a fourth term in the just concluded elections, which makes her the longest serving head of government that the nearly 50-year-old country has known.

Details of the elections

  1. Awami League took 288 of the 300 elected seats in the 350-member JatiyaSangsad, the Bangladeshi Parliament, and as a result will get to nominate its candidates to most of the remaining seats, all of which are reserved for women.
  2. With just seven seats of its own, the Opposition Jatiya Oikiya Front has been wiped out.

Why Sheikh Hasina Won?

  • Economic progress:Despite all the troubles in Bangladesh, one reason why voters have reposed their trust in her for the third consecutive term — one term was in the ’90s — is because of the country’s economic progress which has provided jobs and in turn contributed to what are South Asia’s best social indicators.
  • Weak opposition: The main opposition leader Khalida Zia is in jail

Importance of the Victory for India

  1. As a friend of Hasina, Delhi is clearly happy at the election outcome.
  2. PM Modi was the first foreign leader to call and congratulate her on the victory.
  3. Ties between the two countries have never been better, leading Modi to describe it as the “golden era” in bilateral relations.
  4. India has made trade concessions to Bangladesh, invested more money in the country, and is in the midst of several infrastructure and connectivity projects.
  5. The Hasina government has shut down camps of terrorist groups operating in India’s Northeast from safe havens in Bangladesh. The only outstanding issue between the two is the Teesta river waters sharing agreement. India has rightly stayed out of the internal tumult over the last five years or more.

Way forward

  1. With great power comes great responsibility.
  2. It is now up to Prime Minister Hasina to ensure that her government uses its sweeping mandate not to stamp out, but to strengthen, a multi-party democracy, individual freedoms, and the rule of law in Bangladesh.
  3. The last five years saw the Hasina government take an authoritarian turn, jailing opponents, stifling dissent, and generally responding to all criticism badly.
  4. Repression can lead to a rejection of democratic politics.
  5. The alternative, as is evident at many places in the world, could be much worse than what Bangladesh has experienced in the past.
  6. To begin with, she has to heal a country rattled by political divisions and violence.
  7. The Election Commission should conduct a fair investigation into allegations of rigging to restore faith in the poll process.
  8. Hasina should reach out to the Opposition. Her otherwise impressive record has been marred by her government’s authoritarian character.
  9. The victory is a chance for Ms. Hasina to mend her ways, to be more inclusive and run a government that respects the rule of law, the basic rights of citizens and institutional freedom.
Dec, 17, 2018

[op-ed snap] The spectre of deportation


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Register of Citizens (NRC)

Mains level: How NRC process can impact India-Bangladesh ties


NRC date extended

  1. The last date for filing claims and objections for Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) has been extended by the Supreme Court to December 31, from December 15
  2. This exercise of compiling the NRC in the first place has sparked a debate around its political, economic and humanitarian consequences, and its implications for India’s relationship with its neighbours, particularly Bangladesh

Are illegal immigrants only in India?

  1. There are legal as well as illegal Indian immigrants in Bangladesh too
  2. According to the latest available Bangladesh government estimates of 2009, more than 500,000 Indians were working in Bangladesh

Importance of Bangladeshi remittances

  1. Bangladesh was reported to be among the highest source of remittances to India, behind the United Arab Emirates, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.K.
  2. Many Indian citizens are securing coveted employment opportunities in Bangladesh through multinational companies, non-governmental organisations, and trading activities
  3. To put things into perspective, most of them are employed in advantageous jobs in Bangladesh while Bangladeshis in India are largely employed in low-paying jobs

Bangladesh’s silent reluctance

  1. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the Bangladesh government that those excluded from the NRC will not be deported, Dhaka has so far been silent on the issue, terming it as an ‘internal matter of India’
  2. This is seen as a signal that Bangladesh, already stretched in terms of resources and manpower to host Rohingya refugees, would not be acceding to a request of taking back Bengali-speaking Muslims in case deportation is initiated

Neighbourhood first policy in shambles- China Effect

  1. PM Modi came to power with proclamation of a ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. Midway in the final year of his term, the reality speaks quite differently
  2. Nepal, once a time-tested ally, has tilted towards China since the 2015 Nepal blockade barring the entry of fuel, medicine and other vital supplies and holding the state to a literal siege
  3. Nepal now has been given access to four Chinese ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang in addition to its dry (land) ports at Lanzhou, Lhasa and Xigatse, as well as roads to these facilities, ending India’s monopoly to its trading routes
  4. The India-Bhutan relationship has also been strained ever since India temporarily withdrew subsidies on cooking gas and kerosene in 2013, constraining bilateral ties
  5. The Doklam stand-off in the summer of 2017 reinforced Bhutan’s scepticism towards Chinese expansionist plans across the region
  6. Simultaneously, Thimphu has been underlining the landlocked kingdom’s aspiration to affirm its sovereignty
  7. It has, for instance, stepped out of India’s diplomatic influence, as evidenced by its withdrawal from the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicles agreement
  8. The India-China power play has also cast its shadow over Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the last few years

Bangladesh’s importance

  1. Against this backdrop of China making inroads into South Asia and India’s backyard, Bangladesh has so far been the most trusted ally of India
  2. On the security front, it has cooperated in India’s crackdown on insurgents
  3. Annual bilateral trade is set to cross the $9 billion mark, making it India’s biggest trading partner in South Asia
  4. In addition, Bangladesh has facilitated connectivity with the Northeast by allowing the use of Chittagong and Mongla ports
  5. However, the Teesta water-sharing issue remains unaddressed, non-tariff barriers on Bangladeshi exports persist and border killings are yet to become a thing of the past

Way forward

  1. The NRC issue threatens to disturb the equilibrium in India-Bangladesh ties
  2. Plans for deportation of those not on the NRC list are not only politically imprudent but also risk inciting unrest across the region
  3. Previous similar exercises have not been effective and only resulted in alienating individuals from their natural rights
Oct, 26, 2018

India and Bangladesh Sign Agreements for Enhancing Inland and Coastal Waterways Connectivity


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Port of call, Name of ports mentioned in newscard

Mains level: How Bangladesh can be used a gateway to northeast India


Enhancing connectivity between India-Bangladesh

  1. India and Bangladesh signed several milestone agreements for enhancing inland and coastal waterways connectivity between the two countries for trade and cruise movements
  2. The two countries have signed an agreement to use Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India
  3. A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been signed for movement of passenger and cruise services
  4. An addendum to ‘Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade’ (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh has been signed for inclusion of Dhubriin India and Pangaonin Bangladesh as new Ports of Call
  5. These agreements will facilitate easier   movement of goods and passengers between the two countries, giving an impetus to trade and tourism

Agreements for the port of call

  1. The two sides agreed to consider inclusion of Rupnarayanriver (National Waterway-86) from Geonkhali to Kolaghat in the protocol route and to declare Kolaghatin West Bengal as new Port of Call
  2. Chilmari was agreed to as a port of call in Bangladesh
  3. The new arrangement will facilitate the movement of fly ash, cement, construction materials etc from India to Bangladesh through IWT on Rupnarayanriver
  4. Both sides agreed to declare Badarpur on river Barak (NW 16) as an Extended Port of Call of Karimganj in Assam and Ghorasal of Ashuganj  in Bangladesh on a reciprocal basis
  5. The North Eastern states would get connected to directly to the ports of Kolkata and Haldia in India and Mongla in Bangladesh through waterways which would facilitate movement EXIM cargo and would also reduce the logistic costs

River cruises

  1. In another important understanding reached at between the two countries, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for movement of passengers and cruise vessels on Inland Protocol route and coastal shipping routes have been finalised
  2. These river cruise services are likely to commence between Kolkata – Dhaka – Guwahati – Jorhat and back

Reducing distance of Assam

  1. It was also agreed that a Joint Technical Committee will explore the technical feasibility of operationalisation of Dhulian-Rajshahi protocol route up to Aricha
  2. The reconstruction and opening up of Jangipur navigational lock on river Bhagirathi subject to the provisions of the Treaty between India and Bangladesh on Sharing of Ganga Waters at Farakka,1996
  3. This move has the potential to reduce the distance to Assam by more than 450 kms on the protocol routes
  4. Both sides have also agreed for development of Jogighopa as a hub/trans-shipment terminal for movement of cargo to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Bhutan and notifying Munsiganj River terminal by Bangladesh Customs for routing third party Exim cargo through Kolkata Port
Sep, 19, 2018

[pib] India-Bangladesh jointly unveil e-plaques for two projects


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Details of the project mentioned

Mains level: India-Bangladesh bilateral relations.



  1. PM Modi, and the Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, jointly unveiled e-plaques for two projects, via video conference.
  2. The projects include: (a) India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (b) Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur Railway Project

India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline

  1. The 129 km pipeline will connect Siliguri in West Bengal in India and Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh.
  2. The Rs 346 crore project will be completed in 30 months and the capacity of the pipeline will be one million metric tonnes per annum.
  3. The oil pipeline will supply high speed diesel to Bangladesh which is currently transported through cross-border train from Numaligarh refinery.
  4. Of the total length, 124 km will be constructed in Bangladesh and 5 km in India.
  5. The cross-border connectivity projects through Bangladesh complement India’s Act East Policy and aim to smoothen connectivity with landlocked NE India.

Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur Railway Project

  1. 80 km of the two new dual gauge rail lines would be constructed on the Dhaka-Tongi route while a 12.28 km new dual gauge railway double line on the Tongi-Joydevpur route.
  2. The railway project will bring relief to road traffic in Bangladesh.

India to use Chittagong and Mongla Ports

  1. With these ports the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram will have another mode of transport, making the region more accessible.
  2. These accesses are granted as per GATT rules.
  3. The agreement, effective for five years initially, will be renewed automatically for another five years.
  4. While the pact will be signed between Bangladesh and India, later Nepal and Bhutan can join.
Jun, 25, 2018

India, Bangladesh Navies to join hands


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CORPAT

Mains level: India’s defense cooperation with Bangladesh


Annual CORPAT with Bangladesh

  1. India and Bangladesh have agreed to institute a Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) as an annual feature between the two Navies.
  2. It is aimed to consolidate bilateral defense relations between India and Bangladesh and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.

India-Bangladesh Naval Cooperation

  1. The commencement of CORPAT is a major step towards the enhanced operational interaction between both Navies.
  2. Naval cooperation between India and Bangladesh has been traditionally strong, encompassing a wide span which includes operational interactions through port calls, passage exercises along with capacity building, capability enhancement and training initiatives.

Widening cooperation through CORPAT

  1. Over the last few years, the Indian Navy has expanded its assistance to countries in the region through material support, training, EEZ surveillance, provisioning of platforms, hydrographic assistance, joint exercises and offering slots in professional training courses.
  2. The Navy regularly conducts CORPATs with Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. It also conducts EEZ surveillance of Maldives, Mauritius, and Seychelles on their request.
Dec, 18, 2017

[op-ed snap] Rohingya crisis and Mandarin geopolitics


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNHCR, UN, European Union, ASEAN, OIC, Balkanization

Mains level: Changing geopolitics in Indian subcontinent and what India needs to do


China’s increasing interference in neighborhood

  1. China has outlined a conciliatory “three-stage plan” to mediate between Bangladesh and Myanmar to resolve the protracted Rohingya crisis
  2. The agreement has provision on return of displaced persons back to Rakhine state from Bangladesh

Agrrement provides little hope to Rohingyas

  1. The agreement has redrawn the ethnic boundaries of the Rohingya heartland in the northern Rakhine state
  2. But there is a scant possibility of Rohingyas returning voluntarily
  3. The process of verification of the identity of the Rohingyas could potentially remain a source of dispute
  4. The agreement provides a pathway for the UN high commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and international development partners to be involved in the return and resettlement of the Rohingya population

Emerging new geopolitics in a region

  1. Apart from the UN endorsements, the Chinese formula and the Donald Trump administration’s declaration of this crisis as a threat to the world are evidence of the emerging new geopolitics in a region
  2. The fourth largest Muslim country in the world—Bangladesh—has become a geopolitical chessboard
  3. Competition for the Balkanization of South and South-East Asia is conceivably possible

China’s support to Bangladesh in dealing with crisis

  1. Bangladesh’s non-belligerent approach to this crisis has successfully avoided armed conflict situations
  2. It has been a mammoth task for the government and the armed forces to ensure biometric registration and humanitarian support in collaboration with international partners
  3. India remained strikingly indifferent to Bangladesh’s agonies
  4. China’s proactive engagement, since April 2017, in facilitating bilateral solutions came as one of the two stable supports for Bangladesh in dealing with the crisis
  5. The UN, European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have remained useful platforms for multilateral initiatives

Way forward

  1. The Palestine effect of the Rohingya crisis is emerging as a bridging conduit for the sectarianism across the Ummah
  2. The cumulative effect of Rohingya politics is transforming Bangladesh into a compelling geopolitical entity
  3. Beijing and Washington will need to readjust to the new sociopolitical realities in Dhaka
Dec, 01, 2017

RPower signs $1 billion pact for Dhaka project

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the project

Mains level: Complement this newscard with our other newscards on the IR with Bangladesh.


Agreement for Gas-based power plant in Bangladesh

  1. Reliance Power has signed agreements to set up the first phase of the integrated 750 MW gas-based power plant at Meghnaghat near Dhaka
  2. And 500 mmscfd LNG Terminal at Kutudbia Island in Bangladesh for $1 billion
  3. Largest Investment: This represents the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in Bangladesh and the largest investment in Bangladesh’s energy sector

Other particulars of the project

  1. Reliance Power will relocate one module of equipment procured for its 2,250 MW combined cycle power project at Samalkot in Andhra Pradesh, India for the Phase-1 project

Background of the agreement

  1. The firm had signed an MoU in June 2015 with the BPDB to set up a 3,000 MW, integrated combined cycle gas-based power project and a 500 mmscfd LNG terminal
Nov, 13, 2017

[op-ed snap] India and Bangladesh: So near, so far


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Benefits for North-East India. Also, these projects is an example of good relationship between both the countries



  1. The article talks about the projects of transportation system between India and Bankgladesh

Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express

  1. Recently, flagged off by the Prime Ministers of both the countries
  2. to follow in the tracks of the erstwhile Barisal Express, which was stopped during the 1965 war with Pakistan
  3. The two countries, especially India’s Northeast, stand to gain enormously from closer road and rail links

Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata Bus link

  1. Service on the 490 km Agartala-Dhaka route began in September 2003, and ran irregularly until January 2015, when it was stopped for security reasons
  2. Service was restarted in May 2015 on an extended Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata route (910 km)

Kolkata-Dhaka Maitree Express

  1. In 2008, rail links disrupted by hostility with erstwhile East Pakistan were reestablished, the 375 km route crossing the border at Gede on the Indian side and Darshana on the Bangladesh side

Agartala-Dhaka service

  1. A 15-km line between Agartala and Akhaura being built by the Indian Railways is set for completion by the end of 2018
  2. With this, a 37-hour journey that an Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata train can cover in less than a third of this time

Siliguri-Parbatipur link

  1. A line links Siliguri in North Bengal to Parbatipur in northern Bangladesh, by which India sent a 42-wagon consignment of high speed diesel manufactured by Numaligarh Refinery in Assam in March 2017
  2. But there is no regular goods train movement on this route, and passenger services are unlikely soon
  3. Because of trans-border crimes and infiltration in the North Bengal sector


Kolkata-Dibrugarh waterway

  1. Kolkata-Dibrugarh waterway through Dhaka and Guwahati, started in 1844 by the East India Company and shut after the 1965 war, was recently reopened
  2. Heavy machinery and equipment for the Numaligarh refinery and Lower Subansiri hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh have been transported by this route

Road Transport

  1. In November 2015, seamless road cargo transport between Kolkata and Agartala through Bangladesh was tried out successfully under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)
  2. Regular services are yet to start

Northeast: the biggest beneficiary 

  1. The creation of East Pakistan — and subsequently, Bangladesh — significantly increased the distance between the Northeast and the Indian mainland
  2. Until 1947, a train to Guwahati from Kolkata took hardly 12 hours
  3. Today, despite increased speeds, the journey takes at least 18 hours by the fastest train, while a normal train — such as the Kamrup Express — takes almost 24 hours through Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri.
  4. Before Partition, people travelled from Guwahati to Kolkata via Lalmonirhat, in the Bangladesh district close to where the Brahmaputra crosses the border
  5. Trains between Assam and Kolkata through East Pakistan stopped in 1947; trains between West Bengal and East Pakistan stopped after the 1965 war
Oct, 24, 2017

Not just strategic ties with Dhaka: Sushma


Mains Paper 2: IR | India & its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: India Bangladesh relations and issues that still remain unresolved



  1. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s 2-day visit to Bangladesh

Neighbours first, Bangladesh foremost

  1. India is following a policy of neighbours first, and among the neighbours Bangladesh is foremost
  2. Bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh have gone beyond a strategic partnership

Problem areas

  1. Both countries were working to resolve irritants in the spirit of “friendly relations and with the right intention”
  2. The water sharing of common rivers, particularly the Teesta, has long been pending

Peaceful cooperation

  1. Both countries reached to the peaceful solution of the land and maritime boundary issues
Oct, 23, 2017

India, Bangladesh resolve to fight terror together

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:Not much

Mains level: Developments can be seen as counter measures against rising Chinese influence in the region.


Discussion on terrorism

  1. India and Bangladesh has discussed the common challenge of terrorism and resolved to fight the issue together
  2. Sushma Swaraj is in Bangladesh on a two-day visit

India’s projects in Bangladesh

  1. India has been extending grant assistance for small socio-economic projects in Bangladesh
  2. In the past three years alone, 24 such grant projects have been completed which include construction of students’ hostels, tube-wells, cultural centres, and orphanages among others
  3. Presently 58 projects, including city development projects in Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet, are under implementation
  4. The two nations have already agreed on the construction of a petroleum products pipeline
  5. It will link Siliguri with Parbatipur, for the benefit of the people of northwestern Bangladesh, as a grant in aid project
  6. The development is also seen as India’s attempt to counter rising Chinese influence in Bangladesh, where Beijing is trying to make inroads in infrastructure ventures

Scheme for Bangladeshi freedom fighters

  1. India will also offer five-year multiple entry visas for Bangladeshi freedom fighters and is planning a scheme for their medical treatment in India
Oct, 04, 2017

Bangladesh, India set to sign USD 4.5 bn LoC deal on Arun Jaitley visit

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: What is LoC?

Mains level: Good relations with Bangladesh and other neighborhood has became more important due to rising Chinese influence in the region.


Line of credit (LoC) agreement

  1. India is signing an LoC agreement involving USD 4.5 billion to be spent for its infrastructure and social sector development

Other agreements

  1. Agreements for the Promotion and Protection of Investments’ would also be signed

Particulars of the agreement

  1. Bangladesh would have to purchase 65 to 75 per cent of the services, goods or works from the Indian market with the money to be provided under the third LoC
    (following the precedence of the previous two nearly identical agreements)
  2. Government agencies already undertook 17 development projects to be implemented with the upcoming USD 4.5 billion loan


  1. The two countries signed the first LoC in August 2010 while the second one was inked in March, 2016


Line Of Credit – LOC

  1. A line of credit, abbreviated as LOC, is an arrangement between a financial institution, usually a bank, and a customer that establishes a maximum loan balance that the lender permits the borrower to access or maintain
  2. The borrower can access funds from the line of credit at any time, as long as he does not exceed the maximum amount set in the agreement and as long as he meets any other requirements set by the financial institution, such as making timely minimum payments
Aug, 08, 2017

Dhaka to open diplomatic station in Chennai

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Indo-Bangladesh relations has become more important due to increased influence of China in the region. Article gives an example of rising Indo-Bangla Relations.


New diplomatic station

  1. The new station will focus on medical tourism and educational centres
  2. Both these areas draw thousands of Bangladesh citizens to India every year

Main focus

  1. The main focus of the new diplomatic station will be to address the needs of Bangladeshi citizens who visit India for medical and educational purposes

Why is Bangladesh significant for Medical Tourism industry?

  1. Bangladesh has emerged as the largest overseas user of India’s health services sector during 2015-16
  2. Reports suggest that out of the 4,60,000 foreign patients treated in Indian hospitals, nearly 165,000 were from Bangladesh
Dec, 01, 2016

Modi-Mamata spat may cast a shadow on Hasina visit

  1. Event: Upcoming visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India
  2. Context: WB CM Mamata Banerjee’s political fight against PM Narendra Modi’s demonetisation drive
  3. The visit was unlikely to witness any progress on the Teesta water-sharing issue because of these political differences
  4. The focus of the visit was likely to be on greater defence and maritime cooperation, and not on river-water sharing
  5. At the Budapest Water Summit 2016, PM Hasina said Bangladesh remained vulnerable as 92% of its surface water originated from outside its borders
  6. According to her, water challenges today are not the scarcity of water in absolute term; rather its equitable distribution
  7. Effective management of trans-boundary river water would serve a lasting and viable solution


  1. Teesta deal has become more of a symbol than having a strong substance in it.
  2. The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September, 2011 but was postponed
  3. The Teesta river is said to be the lifeline of Sikkim, flowing for almost the entire length of the state.
  4. The river then forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal before joining the Brahmaputra as a tributary in Bangladesh.

What is Budapest Water Summit 2016?

  1. The Summit is organised by the Government of Hungary in cooperation with the World Water Council.
  2. The World Water Council is an international and independent organization which fight for better water management across the world.
  3. It’s just a think tank!


This news demonstrates the impact that the federal nature of our polity can have on our international relations. Although external affairs is under the Centre, the views of a state CM are impacting our relations with another country. This article is important for polity and international affairs.

Nov, 30, 2016

Parrikar in Dhaka to boost defence ties

  1. Event: The first ever bilateral visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Bangladesh
  2. The visit was a way to revitalise India’s defence partnership with its immediate neighbours, especially Bangladesh and Myanmar, which share long land boundaries
  3. At present the defence relationship is limited, except some training and military-to-military cooperation
  4. This is also an attempt by India to offset growing engagement by China and Pakistan with Bangladesh on the defence front
  5. India is open to selling them platforms and is keen to extend cooperation in the naval area
  6. India is also keen on concluding a white shipping agreement to exchange information on commercial traffic
  7. The armies of India and Bangladesh have last week concluded the sixth edition of joint military exercise “Sampriti-2016”
  8. It focussed on counter-terrorism operations


What is white shipping and how does it help in India’s maritime security?

  1. White shipping information refers to exchange of relevant advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels
  2. Being aware of the identity of these vessels is imperative to preventing any potential threat from the sea from impinging on the coastal and offshore security of the country.
  3. The 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack is a case in point.
  4. Indian Navy has thus been working towards achieving complete Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) along with all other concerned agencies like the coast guard, customs, ports, fisheries, etc.
  5. India has signed white shipping agreements with several countries including United States and Singapore and is seeking similar agreement with more countries as part of its ongoing effort at developing an effective regional MDA.


There are some important terms here, such as white shipping and Sampriti. These can come in prelims. India has signed many white shipping agreements this year. These will provide valuable information so that India can better monitor the Indian Ocean. This news also demonstrates the closer relations between India and Bangladesh and how we are reacting to China’s inroads.

Oct, 18, 2016

Dhaka seeks balance of strategic ties

  1. Issue: China’s government-to-government and private deals worth $38.05 billion have upgraded the Bangladesh-China relationship to a strategic partnership
  2. There is a debate in Bangladesh on a possible tilt in balance vis-a- vis Dhaka’s relations with New Delhi
  3. At present relations are at an all-time high under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
  4. Many experts, including key government leaders, see the growing Dhaka-Beijing relations as purely commercial and economic
  5. Others feel the need for a crucial balance under the new reality
  6. Dhaka has categorically said that Mr. Xi’s visit would not have any negative impact on its relations with other countries, including India.
Apr, 17, 2016

Reviving Radio Bangla

  1. Context: Radio Bangla was discontinued in 2010 but with DRM, Radio Bangla will be active again
  2. AIR is using both FM transmitters and DRMs to reach out to India’s neighbours
  3. History: This radio transmission had played an important role in the liberation of Bangladesh
  4. India: Hoping to have specific programmes to interest listeners, like discussions on rising fundamentalism in Bangladesh, which poses a danger to India
Apr, 17, 2016

Govt goes digital for cross-border outreach

  1. Context: President Mukherjee will inaugurate a transmitter at Chinsurah later in 2016
  2. Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM): It is the cross-border broadcasting initiative & will kick start after inauguration of the transmitter
  3. It will provide cross border radio service to Bangladesh
Mar, 25, 2016

India exports power to Bangladesh, gets Internet bandwidth

  1. Context: India trades 100 MW of power from Tripura for 10gbps of Internet bandwidth from Bangladesh
  2. Power: India currently supplies 500MW of power to Bangladesh through West Bengal
  3. Bandwidth: Import of bandwidth will help India strengthen telecom services and connectivity in the north-eastern region
  4. An international gateway for broadband connectivity will be set up at Agartala through which connectivity will be provided via Bangladesh
Feb, 23, 2016

India's major power deal in B'desh to beat China

  1. Context: BHEL would seal a contract to build a $1.6 billion power plant in Bangladesh beating Chinese competitors
  2. Plant: a 1,320-megawatt (MW) thermal power station in Khulna in southern Bangladesh
  3. Relief: for India, who has long fretted over Beijing’s encroachment in its own back yard
  4. String of Pearls: India believes Bangladesh is a part of China’s String of Pearls
Jan, 08, 2016

MoU between India and Bangladesh for Border Haats

  1. MoU between India and Bangladesh for Mode of Operation of Border Haats on India-Bangladesh Border.
  2. These are common marketplaces which aim at promoting the wellbeing of the people dwelling in remote areas across the borders of two countries.
  3. By establishing traditional system of marketing the local produce through local markets in local currency and/or barter basis.
  4. Though not significant as a percentage of bilateral trade, these measures help to improve economic well-being of marginalised sections of society.
Dec, 25, 2015

Tripura, Meghalaya to get six more border markets

  1. Union govt. has sanctioned a proposal to open 6 more border haats (markets) in its northeast frontier with Bangladesh.
  2. Currently, there 4 such facilities are presently functional in Tripura and Meghalaya.
  3. These 4 locations are Srinagar and Kamalasagar in Tripura, Kaliachar and Balat in Meghalaya.
  4. The people residing in far-flung border locations are getting benefit of trade transaction at border haats.
Nov, 26, 2015

Sebi, Bangla regulator sign pact over co-operation

  1. The Sebi has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) on co-operation and technical assistance.
  2. The MoU is aimed at promoting economic links, enhancing investor protection, and development of capital markets.
  3. It also aims at enhancing investor protection and creating conditions for an effective development of securities markets in the two countries.
Nov, 18, 2015

India, Bangladesh agree to share militant information

  1. India and Bangladesh agreed to share information on militants, while reviewing internal security and other cross-border issues.
  2. It is possible to eliminate terrorism and insurgency through bilateral understanding and intelligence sharing.
  3. There was a need to educate people on both sides, so that they do not cross the borders and abide by all international regulations.
  4. Bangladesh sought Indian cooperation in cross-border drug smuggling.
Aug, 04, 2015

Indo:Bangla - Freedom after many midnights

  1. The resolution of maritime dispute with Bangladesh in 2014 and land accord recently, are one of the important diplomatic achievements of India’s foreign policy.
  2. The settlement of inter-country dispute involving territorial issues are always remarkable achievements.
  3. The enclave issue, which had its roots in partition led to denial of right to freedom and justice to many.
  4. Now, the ball is in govt.’s court to step up infrastructure and development initiatives to mitigate the trauma of citizens.
Jul, 16, 2015

90% of enclave dwellers give choice of nation

India and Bangladesh will complete a survey asking each of the 51,000 people living in 162 enclaves on the border to give their choice of citizenship of either nation.

Jun, 15, 2015

Now, China seeks maritime deal with Dhaka

  1. China has approached Bangladesh to sign a deal on blue economy and maritime cooperation in the Bay of Bengal.
  2. Do note that India had just signed a deal for joint research on oceanography of the Bay of Bengal.
  3. The Indo-B.Desh deal was signed between Univ. of Dhaka and India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Jun, 10, 2015

[op-ed snap] A next step called Teesta

  1. No breakthrough on the proposed Teesta water-sharing agreement.
  2. Bangladesh has delivered on its pledge towards zero tolerance for terrorism by extremely proactive in last few years.
  3. But, Indian side yet to deliver on its commitment of zero deaths on the India-Bangladesh border.
  4. There is a need to work together to discover practical and humane solutions to labour mobility, human trafficking and the movement of illegal goods across the border.
Jun, 08, 2015

Indo-Bangladesh: On rivers and dams

Jun, 03, 2015

Atal Bihari Vajpayee to get ‘Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award’

Jun, 03, 2015

Bangladesh Cabinet approves 3 pacts to be signed with India

May, 30, 2015

Modi’s Bangladesh visit: IT Centers & Border haat

May, 12, 2015

[op-ed snap] Breakthrough in India-Bangladesh ties

May, 01, 2015

Cabinet delinks Assam from new border pact

  1. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the long-pending – and controversial – Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh.
  2. However, it has de-linked Assam from the agreement for now. Why? Because of major protests etc.
  3. For now, we are settling the West Bengal and Meghalaya segments of the Indo-Bangladesh border.
  4. A Constitution amendment bill required for ratifying the boundary agreement is expected to be tabled in Parliament when the budget session reconvenes next week.
Mar, 30, 2015

Rice sent via Bangladesh to reach Tripura

  1. The 8 NE states, including Sikkim, are largely dependent on Punjab, Haryana for food grains and essential commodities.
  2. The rice is being ferried via Bangladesh to avoid the long and mountainous surface road up to Tripura via Assam and Meghalaya.
  3. Following diplomatic parleys, the Bangladesh government in the first phase agreed to transport 10K tonnes of foodgrains for Tripura across its territory without charging any duty under a special transit facility.
Mar, 26, 2015

Bangladesh wins Women in Parliaments Award

  1. Bangladesh is only country in the world where the PM, Parliament speaker, Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the house, and a major opposition leader are all women.
  2. In the World Economic Forum report it has been placed among the top 10 countries in the world in reducing gender gap
  3. WIP Award is based on the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.
  4. The report assesses 135 countries that represent more than 93 % of the world’s population.
  • Subscribe

    Do not miss important study material

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
Notify of