India-Bangladesh Relations and Emerging Challenges
Title: Navigating the Evolving Dynamics: India and Bangladesh
The Current Scenario:
Sheikh Hasina’s Leadership: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s return to power for a fourth term cements the strong bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi being among the first to congratulate her.
Historical Ties and Progress:
Foundation: The bond was established during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, with India supporting Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan.
Renewed Relations: After a period of strained ties, Sheikh Hasina’s leadership since 1996 has rejuvenated the relationship, particularly with the Ganga water-sharing treaty.
Trade Growth: Bilateral trade reached $18 billion in 2021-2022, with Bangladesh emerging as India’s largest trade partner in South Asia.
CEPA and FTA Prospects: The proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and the potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are critical, especially as Bangladesh prepares to transition out of its Least Developed Country status.
Indian Investment: India has funded key infrastructure and connectivity projects in Bangladesh, including rail links and port access.
Energy Sector: Bangladesh imports significant electricity from India, reflecting energy cooperation.
Points of Tension:
Teesta Water Dispute: The sharing of the Teesta River’s waters remains a contentious issue.
Rohingya Crisis: Bangladesh seeks India’s support for the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar, amidst complex regional dynamics.
Security Concerns: Cross-border terrorism and infiltration pose challenges to internal security in both countries.
Global Relations and Concerns:
U.S. Stance: The U.S. has expressed concerns over democratic practices in Bangladesh, impacting the geopolitical scenario.
China’s Influence: Growing Chinese investments in Bangladesh’s infrastructure present strategic concerns for India.
Key Takeaway: The India-Bangladesh relationship, marked by historical ties, economic growth, and strategic cooperation, faces new challenges and opportunities in the current geopolitical landscape.
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