Are India and Bangladesh Connected in more ways than you Think?Apr 27, 2018
Previously, we were thinking that India has only two important neighbours that are China and Pakistan. But in the present situation, Bangladesh appears as a strong neighbour too. Bangladesh and India: These countries are south Asian neighbours. Relations between these both countries have been friendly, though sometimes border disagreements are there. India and Bangladesh share a long history which includes economic partnership and mutual growth. Based on this mutual trust and cooperation, slowly the relationship between the two countries has grown stronger. Due to the increasing economic ties, both of the countries have benefitted largely. What is important to note is that nowadays, the political involvement is more. So, now we have to see how much of that political involvement will affect the relation between Bangladesh and India. These both countries are associated with each other in more ways than we think.
Connections between India and Bangladesh
There are some argumentative issues between Bangladesh and India that we will discuss. First one is the Water Dispute. 54 transboundary rivers are there which India and Bangladesh share. Farakka Barrage is the main area of an argument between these two countries. To increase the lean period flow of Bhagirathi Hooghly branch of Ganga, along with increasing the water depth at the Kolkata port are the main aims for the construction of Farakka Barrage. The issue about the sharing of Ganga water was successfully agreed between these two nations in 1996.
Another popular argument that takes place in Bangladesh against India is the Tipaimukh Project. In this Project these both countries agreed on a joint study on what is better for Bangladesh should not be decided by India. This one was a group study to examine the points.
As per the Ministry of Defence, 4351 kms of India’s land border is with Bangladesh. This border was used as an illegal way for smuggling of livestock, food items, medicines, and drugs from India to Bangladesh. Also, some of the people from Bangladesh crossed the border and entered India for the purposes of work and beyond. Due to this reason, a policy was made about this illegal activity in which the border guards of Bangladesh and the Indian border security force have been placed. Another agreement was also signed by Smt. Indira Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman about the separation of land boundary between Bangladesh and India, but it was not fully completed by both governments.
More disputes between India and Bangladesh
Another dispute was also there between these two countries regarding the Transit. To provide the rail and road transit, India has been negotiating with Bangladesh. By this rail and road transit, India will connect with its north eastern states. However, technically the transit was resolved in 1972. At that time both the countries agreed mutually for the use of railways, waterways, roadways.
In the year of 2011, after the election of Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hassina, friendly relations between these two countries began. Since then both of the countries gave their best efforts to improve the relationship between them and have been trying to resolve the conflicts slowly. For the selection of 4-decade old disputes over boundaries, these two countries signed a record in 2011. That is known as Bigha corridor. By this record, India got the permission of 24hr access to Bangladeshi citizens in the Tin Bigha Corridor.
From the month of October 2013, India started exporting electricity of 500 megawatts to Bangladesh. In the year of 2015, after so many discussions these two countries were still not able to solve the issue of land Boundary agreement or the maritime boundary issue. Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Minister of India went for her first official overseas visit in June 2014. At that time, she resolved various agreements that include an agreement where they will send back from India, additional 100MW of power that will be provided from Tripura etc.
Thinking strategically, after Nepal and Bhutan, Bangladesh is the most important neighbouring country for India.