Prioritizing emotion over cultural identity. Then, political interests are settled by mutual compromise. Similar examples between neighboring countries exist in many parts of the world. Such an alliance then wants to cross the border window as well. Transcendent love peeks out, we are two separate countries but automatically love to protect each other’s interests.
Fifty-one years of ethical relations between Bangladesh and India in South Asia have not ensured the treaty-based selfishness of the two countries’ foreign policies. India was able to show such an example in the Great War of Liberation. On the other hand, if the Awami League government under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina was not in power for three consecutive terms, the freedom and sovereignty of India would have been harmed. Because, when the so-called nationalist forces came to the power of the state of Bangladesh by forming a four-party alliance along with the opposing forces of the liberation war, they started supporting the separatist organizations of India. So the old relationship between India and Bangladesh is not stable, when Bangladesh is not led by a Sheikh Hasina, a worthy successor of the country’s father of the nation.
There is therefore the unspoken reality of holding Sheikh Hasina’s name at the fore as one of the main political entities keeping neighboring India independent. Meanwhile, this world is in the grip of global crisis. Most certainly independent states. Pandemic Covid-19 has not kept planet Earth at ease. Due to which economically prosperous countries are also in danger. Moreover, the Russia-Ukraine war has caught the news from the global arena as a ‘slap on the wrist’. Sheikh Hasina, one of the greatest statesmen of this world, is going to Delhi on exactly such a background. According to sources, he will set foot in India on September 5. Naturally, a great moment has been created to rekindle the future relationship and love of Bangladesh and India once again, says the observer.
Most recently, India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said while inaugurating a warship, “The spirit and ideological position of Bangladesh must be respected. He emphasized India’s good economic, political and commercial relations with the neighboring countries as well as the military sector and said that Delhi’s cordial relations with the neighboring countries should be ensured. The Bangladesh government has adopted a zero tolerance policy against fanatics and fanatics of religious violence. We are excited as a neighboring country as Bangladesh continues to progress.”
As part of the implementation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Sagar’ policy, Rajnath Singh wants to formulate a long-term defense policy. In which he said that he wants to strengthen relations with other neighboring countries by giving great importance to Bangladesh.
It is very likely that the upcoming Hasina-Modi meeting will discuss the relevant arguments on the defense doctrine. India will seek a defense policy to counter global superpowers. On the other hand, both would like to avoid the infiltration of fundamentalist politics in Bangladesh to prevent political instability. At the same time, to prevent the continuation of India’s political order, no political power can be supported in the ruling power of Bangladesh, who will maintain their interests by showing an apparent style of acting with India – but, their goals will be different than before. Needless to say, the tradition of parliamentary democracy also includes holding the national parliament election in Bangladesh at the end of next year.
New equations of world politics are, will continue to be. Bangladesh and India are not bound by trans-border relations only at the geographical level. The social security, economy, industry, literature, politics, communication system of the two countries are dependent on each other. The consequences of the multi-dimensional relationship between Dhaka-Delhi relations became evident when the Awami League, the party that led Bangladesh’s independence, and the political research wing of India swore an oath that we would remain friends with each other.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s role in liberating the people of Bangladesh in 1971, including giving shelter to about one crore refugees from East Pakistan and providing military aid, accelerated the achievement of Bangladesh’s independence. Mrs. Gandhi’s magnanimity in withdrawing the Indian Allies from post-independence Bangladesh at a very short notice at Bangabandhu’s request made history. The people of Bengal will never forget the support given by the Indian government when the people of East Bengal participated in the war of independence against West Pakistan under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in crushing the West Pakistani military regime.
There is a big difference in foreign policy between India and Bangladesh. Whereas in India, even if the government changes, their international policy does not change. On the other hand, if any party other than Awami League becomes the government party, not only the anti-India attitude among them, but that government is active in forming public opinion against India. For good reason, when the government changes on the foreign policy question of Bangladesh, there is no longer a single goal or consensus decision.
Meanwhile, in the bilateral talks between Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi in the September meeting, it is expected that there will be a discussion on the water distribution of common rivers based on the minutes of the joint river commission meeting. Bangladesh wants to get the benefits of Teesta agreement. This time it is assumed that a new agreement can be reached on the distribution of Kushiara water.
Discussions also include the purchase and borrowing of military equipment. There is also talk of buying radar from India for maritime security. Discussions on the formation of sub-regional energy hubs may proceed. Hydroelectric projects involving Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, led by India Bangladesh wants to bring electricity from Nepal At the same time, Bangladesh wants to work jointly on the issue of energy security connectivity in the region.
Integrated trade agreements will dominate Sheikh Hasina’s visit. If the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) agreement is reached, the products of India and Bangladesh will get duty-free access to the two countries. Bangladesh has already ratified this agreement At the same time, Bangladesh is working on anti-dumping policy formulation.
On the other hand, 111 enclaves of India and 51 enclaves of Bangladesh were exchanged through the India-Bangladesh border agreement in June 2015. In this more than 50 thousand stateless people got their long awaited citizenship. The two countries set up border haats to solve their cross-border smuggling problems and promote goodwill. As of April 2022, seven border haats have been established and nine more are awaiting inauguration. It is assumed that the enclave will therefore be discussed.
Most of the lines of credit extended by India are earmarked for the development of inter-communications. Through which public relations will be established not only with Bangladesh and India, but also with Nepal and Bhutan. It is expected that there will be continuation of such discussions this time too. Balabahulya, Padma Rail Link and Khulna-Mongla Railway will set a unique example for the two countries. More than 1 million people travel to India annually from Bangladesh. In 2021, Bangladesh Railways also earned Tk 200 crores by transporting goods by freight train from India.
History says that the first trade agreement between India and Bangladesh was signed in 1972. It was automatically renewed in 2015. Bangladesh’s steady economic development is creating new opportunities for India’s northeastern states. Exports from Bangladesh have tripled in the past decade to cross $1 billion in 2018-19. In FY2019, Indian exports to Bangladesh were $8.2 billion and imports were $1.26 billion. According to published data, Bangladesh has become India’s fourth largest export destination in the fiscal year 2021-22, behind the United States, United Arab Emirates and China. Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi are expected to take their talks forward on this issue as well.
There is a chance to think that both the countries may come to a final decision in formulating defense policy. Meanwhile, a joint naval exercise named ‘Bangasagar’ was also held in 2020 for maritime security. India has appreciated the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy of the Bangladesh government and acknowledged that this policy is a boon for both the bordering countries. Dhaka-Delhi mutual trust was further strengthened when Bangladesh handed over top ULFA leader Anup Chetia to the Indian government in 2015 after 18 years.
The people of Bangladesh believe that the two legendary politicians Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi will strengthen the alliance between the two countries by holding a meaningful meeting to deal with the global crisis. Let the good bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India transcend the boundaries of the regional level and strengthen the field of global peace and security with the intention of building a prosperous region. A mind that will not get lost in the chaos of global politics. Let the ambitious political will of the politicians who are disunited with the religious evil forces die in the name of Islam in Bangladesh under the influence of the imperialist forces. Dhaka-Delhi good relations and ethics can smooth that path. A person who is ready to give his life for the people of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina understands what is the public interest. He is a fighter, he is a revolutionary, he is a rebel — again, he is the best guide of mainstream politics.
The countrymen need to know what doctrine Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stood on. He was the practical being, who wanted to make Sonar Bangla by introducing his own political craft by establishing a suitable governance system. His eldest son Sheikh Hasina? She is an indomitable being to save the interests of Bangladesh by becoming a philosophical leader to fulfill her father’s dream. May Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Delhi be a success. It is also inevitable to save the interests of Bangladesh.
the writer: Presidium Member, Bangladesh Awami League
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