India-Bangladesh Relations through the lens of win-win outcomes
By: Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan
Following its declaration in December 1971, Bangladesh’s independence was first acknowledged by India. In South Asia, these two nations have historically had a shared border. Although there have been a few problems, relations between the two nations are still largely good. Despite decades-long border disputes coming to an end with the signing of the historic land boundary agreement on June 6, 2015, discussions on the sharing of water from transboundary rivers are still ongoing. India sent Bangladesh the COVID-19 vaccine and other medical supplies as a sign of their rekindled friendship and expanding trade relations. Both countries are crucially connected to one another, and not just on a global scale. Additionally, it shares the nation’s longest land border with neighboring states.
Bangladesh border disputes and India
Due to their shared history, culture, and language as well as their shared dedication to liberal democracy and secularism, India and Bangladesh enjoy close ties. Bangladesh was formally annexed by Pakistan in 1947, and up until 1971, it was a part of Pakistan. It separated into Bengal and Assam states from British India. The supremacy of western Pakistan and the spread of Urdu here displeased the locals. They started planning protests because they believed their language and culture were being marginalized in global politics. Additionally, they pushed for more equitable distribution of political power and participation in the government. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led the opposition to West Pakistani rule.
Improved Indo-Bangladesh Relations Recently
Through a number of development efforts, as well as greater trade and energy cooperation, India and Bangladesh have forged closer connections. Over US$ 10 billion worth of goods are shipped from India to Bangladesh each year, making up close to 15% of Bangladesh’s total imports. Over $1 billion worth of goods from Bangladesh go to India, the majority of which. The 1160 MW of electricity that Bangladesh purchases from India is another form of energy cooperation between the two nations. Bangladesh recently agreed to offer India’s North Eastern States with a 10 GBPS internet connection. Both countries have signed numerous bilateral agreements in areas including business, agriculture, and development initiatives. Among the many ways states collaborate, the tourism sector, healthcare, cutting-edge nuclear physics research, space travel, and information technology are just a few. Additionally, the Indian railway line from Chilahati (BNG) to Haldibari reopened (IND). In addition, India sent 10 diesel locomotives to Bangladesh Railways that can run on the nation’s broader track gauge. Additionally, the two nations have decided to begin bus service from Dhaka to Gangtok and Darjeeling via Siliguri. Over the past eight years, India has given Bangladesh three lines of credit totaling $8 billion to help finance the construction of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The Maitri Setu, as this bridge is also known, has recently been built. In particular, it links the Indian city of Sabroom to the Bangladeshi city of Ramgarh.
Relationship Challenges Between Bangladesh and India
The Rohingya refugee crisis, border security issues, the condition of the Teesta River, China’s influence, and a host of other issues plague this country. The minority Muslim group known as the Rohingya makes up about 11 million of Bangladesh’s total population. Their departure is directly related to the crisis in Myanmar. India is apprehensive of doing anything that would sour its cordial ties with its friendly neighbors, including Bangladesh and Myanmar. India has not actively participated in bringing about the end of the crisis outside of the humanitarian relief operation. Border regions must also be safeguarded. India, Bangladesh must work in the Teesta waters issue. More efforts are required to ensure a win-win situation in this regard. India must try to fulfill the demand of Bangladesh because it is a long pending demand from Bangladesh side. India, Bangladesh both need to go ahead.
There is a lot of room for India and Bangladesh to strengthen their bilateral ties. Coordination, consolidation, and cooperation should form the foundation of the link. Since there was a lot of conflict between India and Bangladesh, there are a number of positive aspects as well. the main prerequisite for peace advancement. Therefore, it is essential to have efficient border administration to guarantee a secure, safe, and crime-free border.
The writer is Development worker and independent researcher, Dhaka, Bangladesh.