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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : India-Bangladesh ties, a model for bilateral cooperation

Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance(India-Bangladesh relations, SAARC, Teesta water agreement etc
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India, Significance of Indo-Pacific for India etc



  • The state visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India has amply showcased the high stakes of both polities in their bilateral ties, imbued with regional significance.




India-Bangladesh Relations:

  • Shared culture and ethnicity with West Bengal: Bangladesh is closely linked to India through its shared culture and ethnicity with West Bengal.
  • Bridge: The language, a slightly varied dialect of Bengali, acts as a bridge between East India, North East India and Bangladesh.


India-Bangladesh trade:

  • Sixth largest trading partner: Bangladesh is India’s sixth largest trade partner with bilateral trade rising from $2.4 billion (two point four) in 2009 to $10.8 billion in 2020-21.
  • Industrial raw materials: Bangladesh imports critical industrial raw materials from India on which its exports are reliant.
  • World Bank working paper: Bangladesh’s exports could rise 182% under a free trade agreement.


Projects to boost eastern India-Bangladesh connectivity:

  • Economic growth: India’s connectivity projects with ASEAN and Bangladesh will open up the region to economic growth.
  • Joining IMT project: Bangladesh’s interest in joining the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway project.
  • Use of Bangladesh ports: India-Bangladesh bilateral waterway trade will get boosted as India can now use the Mongla and Chittagong
  • Use of Indian ports: India is rallying Bangladesh to divert its exports through Indian ports in place of Malaysian or Singaporean ports.
  • Train and bus connectivity: Three express trains and international bus services operate between India and Bangladesh.


Issues that trouble the India- Bangladesh relations:

  • Rohingya issue:The continued presence of 1 million Rohingyas who fled from Myanmar has created enormous pressure on the economy and social harmony.
    • Bangladesh has said India is a big country that should “accommodate” them.
  • Absence of agreements: The sharing of the Teesta’s waters, pending since 2011 due to West Bengal’s refusal to relent
  • Joint management: The broader issue of joint management of 54 common rivers, have been constant grievances.
  • China factor: India’s sensitivity to growing cooperation between Bangladesh and China rankles the authorities in Bangladesh.
  • Case of minorities: Despite the government’s secular policy in Bangladesh, “incidents” against the Hindu minority have occurred, but her government has acted against miscreants.
    • At the same time, Bangladesh has expressed concern about the safety of minorities in India.


Specific outcomes of Bangladesh PM’s visit:

  • Security cooperation: Agreement “to continue close security cooperation” over counter-terrorism, border crimes, and border management.
  • Development partnership: The two sides recommitted themselves to enhancing their development partnership which is already quite extensive and multi-faceted.
  • Build resilient supply chains: Between the two countries and “across the region.
  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2022: To conclude negotiations by the time Bangladesh graduates from least developed country status in 2026.
  • Expanding connectivity: Through more rail, road, inland waterways, and coastal shipping linkages.
  • Logistics for power trade: Between Bangladesh and its neighbours — India, Nepal and Bhutan — have been put in place.
  • Startups: India will assist Bangladesh by sharing its rich experience of innovation through startups.


Key Agreements signed:

  • Agreement on withdrawal of water river Kushiyara
  • Flood water related information
  • Agreement on training of personnel:
  • Unit 1 of Maitree power plant(1320 MW)
  • Rupsha rail bridge
  • Mujib scholarships: For 200 family members of the personnel of the Indian military.


Way Forward

  • Financial crisis: The country faces escalating protests on the streets that have been triggered by a sharp rise in fuel prices, an erosion of foreign currency reserves, and a deepening financial crisis.
    • It needs economic cooperation with other countries, particularly India and China.
  • The rising influence of fundamentalist forces: Extremism, and radicalisation poses a serious danger to political stability which needs a secular government to continue the precedence of Bangladesh.
  • The Role of Sheik Hasina: The contribution of Sheik Hasina to building a strong relationship with their largest neighbour is enormous and widely appreciated in India.
  • A role model for bilateral and regional cooperation:Their leaders have jointly crafted and nurtured “a role model for bilateral and regional cooperation”.
    • It deserves to be protected and strengthened, whatever the future may hold.
  • Earn the trust and confidence across the spectrum: For India, the challenge is to earn the trust and confidence of Bangladeshis across the spectrum and strata.




  1. Q. Project ‘Mausam’ is considered a unique foreign policy initiative of the Indian Government to improve relationships with its neighbours. Does the project have a strategic dimension? Discuss. (UPSC 2015)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)