India 3.0 vis a vis Bangladesh 5.0: Shared Concerns

It has often been argued that India and Bangladesh have a shared destiny Based on common culture, language, and regional connectivity. The story of rise of Bangladesh as an independent nation has indeed assured destiny with India in the form of 1971Bangladesh Liberation War. This shared version of relations has been passed through low end high tides of mistrust and re-strengthened again with the passage of time when Sheikh Hasina Awami League joined power since 2005 in Bangladesh.

There has been a marked improvement in its relation with India in the last two decades. Smt. Sheikh Hasina who was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh for fifth time on 11 January, 2024, became the first foreign dignitary to reach India on this sworn in ceremony of Sri Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India for the third consecutive term on 9 June, 2024. It may not be a big concern as who reached when two attend this ceremony nevertheless, it shows a warmth-ness and thrust in bilateral relations justifying the highest level of positivity between two countries.

The new add-ons regarding several initiatives between two countries is been a critical factor at a time when both the countries have a like-minded approach to move forward for the further development of bilateral relations. Recently a news has been circulated in the Indian media regarding the inauguration of Maitri Setu at Sabroom, Tripura, India in coming month of September, 2024. (–trade-and-commerce-to-commence-from-December) and a rapid construction of railway line between India and Bangladesh through Akuara via Nischintpur to Agartala seems to be a remarkable chapter on terms of development in this region.

India 3.0 vis a vis Bangladesh 5.0: Shared Concerns India 3.0 vis a vis Bangladesh 5.0: Shared Concerns


Maitree Bridge at Sabroom, Tripura, India

India 3.0 vis a vis Bangladesh 5.0: Shared Concerns India 3.0 vis a vis Bangladesh 5.0: Shared Concerns


  Construction of International railway station for Agartala- Akhuara railway track.


It is relevant to argue that Bangladesh has been the first country to settle boundary concerns with India at a time, when other neighbours of India are yet to resolve the same. The culmination of Land Boundary Agreement with the visit of the than Prime Minister of India Sri Narendra Modi to Bangladesh on June 6 & 7, 2015, the final conclusions were drawn when 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India were exchanged and people were given option to choose either of the citizenship. Similarly, both countries have also rectified their long-standing maritime boundary concern after successful arguments at Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2015. As a result of it, Bangladesh secured 19,467 square kilometres out of 25,602 sq km disputed area in the Bay of Bengal. Not only has the verdict settled the dispute, it has also widened new horizons for maritime cooperation between two countries in this region.

It has indeed been a positive concern in the relations that people to people contact have also expanded rapidly in many ways. The opportunities for higher education, skill development related opportunities, medical treatment, industrial training are some of the vital areas of cooperation between two countries. India has been a big hub for medical treatment for Bangladeshi citizens. A special mention is in regard is related to the enrolment of Bangladeshi Cadets for military training at National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune which is a Tr-Service Military Academy of Indian Armed Forces.

This story of growth in relations have been given impetus since, Prime Minister Modi gave a clear message for continuing his government’s policy of ‘Neighborhood First’ which was reiterated by External Affairs Minister of India Sri Jaishankar, who is continuing the same way as External Affairs Minister of India in this third term. In view of this extended line of thought it is pertinent to mention that developments occurred at Myanmar proves to be crucial for both the countries since both are sharing border with Myanmar. The rising discontent and aggravation of civil-military conflict is a matter of concern. For Bangladesh, a bigger question is of 7 million Rohingya’s camped at Cox Bazar area. It has become a burden for Sheikh Hasina government who is pressing upon the Military Junta to take them back. However, no substantive results have been shown so far. Bangladesh expects India to become a crucial partner to help in managing this crisis as, it would save Bangladesh further from economic burden.

Another important dimension to look-into is to move further to end the deadlock over river Teesta which passes through North Bengal and Sikkim under India and further move towards Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina government is working with a demand to enhance the share of water from Teesta river as it plays vital role for the development of agriculture in Bangladesh. This demand has even over-shadowed the crucial ties between two countries.

It is pertinent to mention that the existing framework of relations is concrete and comprehensive with a long way for connectivity and economic cooperation between two countries. A new beginning for both the fronts i.e India and Bangladesh is proving to be a game changer in East Asia. Further, the restoration of peace in the North-east States of India bordering Bangladesh became possible with the coordinated efforts from Bangladesh government. However, a fresh approach is required from Indian leadership to resolve the Teesta river issue. With Bangladesh, resolution can be a reality so, this like mindedness among policy makers can reflect the highest sense of positivity never seen before between two countries.


About Dr. Chander Bhushan Nagar 2 Articles
The author is an Associate Professor at Department of Political Science, National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, Maharastra, India

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