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India- Bangladesh relations

  • IASbaba
  • June 21, 2022
  • 0
International Relations
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In News: 7th round of India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission was held recently

  • India extended its assistance in management of the annual flood in Bangladesh
  • And also stated its wish to work with Bangladesh on Artificial Intelligence, start-ups, Fintech and cybersecurity

India-Bangladesh relations

India was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh and establish diplomatic relations immediately after its independence in December 1971

Economic Relations:

  • Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia and India is the second biggest trade partner of Bangladesh.
  • In the FY 2019-20, India’s exports to Bangladesh were $8.2 bn and imports were $1.26 bn

Connectivity:

  • Both countries jointly inaugurated the newly restored railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh).
  • Agreed to an early operationalization of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative Motor Vehicles Agreement through the expeditious signing of the Enabling MoU
  • The second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) was signed recently
  • Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala Bus Service also launched in 2015. This reduced the distance between Kolkata and Agartala from 1,650 km to just 500 km.

Cooperation over Rivers:

  • India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers.
  • A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) has been working since June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems.

Defence Cooperation:

  • Border Management: India and Bangladesh share 7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours.
  • The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015.
  • Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between the two countries

Medical tourism

  • Bangladesh accounts for more than 35% of India’s international medical patients.
  • Bangladesh alone contributes to more than 50% of India’s revenue from medical tourism

Co operation in multilateral platforms

  • Members of major regional organisations like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
  • Solidarity at global platforms like UNSC, working together in achieving SDGs
  • Cooperation to tackle the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic – participation of Bangladesh in SAARC leaders Video Conference in March 2020 and for creation of the SAARC Emergency Response Fund to counter effects of the global pandemic in the South Asian region.

Recent Advancements

  • Recently, India and Bangladesh signed seven agreements and also inaugurated three projects to deepen their partnership.
  • The use of the Chattogram and Mongla ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India, particularly from Northeastern India.
  • Use of Bangladesh’s Feni River for drinking water supply in Tripura.

Challenges

The Teesta river water dispute:

  • The 2011 interim deal aims to share the Teesta river water between India and Bangladesh about 42.5 per cent and 37.5 per cent respectively.
  • But, the state of West Bengal object to this demand and never signed the deal, and strain in this issue goes on

The issue of Illegal migrants:

  • Bangladesh has already raised concerns over roll out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, an exercise carried out to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam and weed out illegal Bangladeshis

China Factor

  • Bangladesh is an active partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that India has not signed up to.
  • Bangladesh is also a major recipient of Chinese military inventory, including submarines.

Other issues

  • Armed Dacoity in border districts, fake money transfer, cattle smuggling is also a cause of concern for India.
  • Trafficking of Illegal migrants and involving them in terrorist activities, prostitution in India is also a challenge in India-Bangladesh relations.
  • Apart from that, Bangladesh is also opposing India’s proposed the Tapaimukh Dam on the Barak River in Manipur and the Interlinking of the rivers project by India.

Way forward

  • The early resolution of river water disputes like Teesta is the better way to boost India-Bangladesh relations.
  • Involvement of joint forces to reduce border issues such as illegal trading, trafficking, cattle smuggling, etc
  • Strengthening of regional groups like SAARC, BIMSTEC etc and focusing on Neighbourhood First policy.

Good relation between India and Bangladesh is essential for the development of North-east region, exploring the Indo-Pacific region and for greater connectivity to South Asian countries.

Source: The Hindu

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