India and Bangladesh share a unique bond and a special relationship rooted in a common cultural heritage, shared principles and common values, language, Hilsa and forged by common aspirations and sacrifice of its people. India is committed to carry forward the mission of strengthening the historic bond and impart a vision for the future that is durable, sustainable and conducive for the collective prosperity of the region.
Bangladesh’s geopolitical importance for India is due to three factors. First, Bangladesh’s location is a ‘strategic triangle’ between mainland India and Northeastern eight states of the Indian Union. Each of these states is land – locked and has shorter route to the sea through Bangladesh.
Currently, Kolkata port is used by these states for both domestic and imported cargo. Bangladesh is a natural pillar of “Look East Policy”. A friendly Bangladesh that ensures no anti-India terror or insurgent activities can be carried out from its soil unlike in the past will substantially assist India in handling security problems in some of its restive north-east States. Importantly, a ‘neutral’ Bangladesh also ensures containment of an assertive China in this region, including along the strategic sea-lanes of the Bay of Bengal.
Further the navigable rivers in India’s Northeast that could connect West Bengal or Orissa ports pass through Bangladesh. The only entry to and exit from the Northeastern region of India is through the Siliguri Corridor that is close to the Chinese border and within striking distance of Bangladesh. The Siliguri Corridor is the most sensitive ‘choke point’ for the Indian Union.
India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. There is much that unites the two countries – a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, passion for music, literature and the arts.
The two nations were strong allies during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. India and Bangladesh share 54 trans – boundary rivers, big and small. In 1996, the sharing of the Ganga waters was successfully agreed upon between the two nations. However, the major area of dispute has been India’s construction and operation of the Farakka Barrage.
While Bangladesh, having concave coastlines, delimits its sea border southward from the edge of its land boundary, India stretches its claim south eastwards, covering around thousands of miles in the Bay of Bengal.
Due to the competing claims of the two countries, delimitation of the sea boundary and determining Bangladesh’s exclusive economic zones have remained unresolved. Moreover, in terms of determining the continental shelf, the presence of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands puts India, in a favourable position.
Insurgency has been playing the role in straining relations of India with Bangladesh. Northeast India has been facing insurgency since 1956 due to feelings of ethnic separatism among its inhabitants. ISI is operating from Bangladesh, supporting the insurgents in the North east India. National Liberation of Tripura (NLFT), Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFM) are major insurgent groups in Northeast India.
There are some rumours that ULFA has several lucrative income generating Projects in Bangladesh to sustain its insurgency activities in India.
Recently I was sent a small leaflet. It is a leaflet from “Islamic Dawa Institute” in Bangladesh. They are offering a course for learning ‘How to convert Non – Muslims in Bangladesh!’ They are training Muslims for converting Non – Muslims especially Hindus, and spreading it openly. Now, they are using not only Love Jihad for only Hindu girls but also targeting each and every Hindus in Bangladesh!
Though the Bangladeshi PM said her country cannot forget the “atrocities” committed by Pakistan during the 1971 war, she was also positive about regional cooperation and smoothening out diplomatic relations with Pakistan in the political chess board.
In yet another signal that the frosty relations between Dhaka and Islamabad could be thawing, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina welcomed Pakistan high commissioner Imran Ahmed Siddiqui to her official residence on Thursday.
Though a press release issued by her office quoted Hasina as saying that her country cannot forget the “atrocities” committed by Pakistan during the 1971 war, she was also positive about regional cooperation and smoothening out diplomatic relations.
The two South Asian countries have traditionally not shared close diplomatic relations. The relationship took a “nosedive” during Hasina’s second tenure as prime minister in 2009, when she began focusing on trials for war crimes during the 1971 war which saw the formation of the Bangladesh.
In 2016, Bangladesh executed several leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party on charges of committing war crimes in 1971. This led to ties with Islamabad falling to a new low, with Pakistan describing the executions and trials “politically motivated”.
India has to be very careful but Dear global Hindus, are you prepared for protecting your Hindu brothers and sisters or still sleeping? India has to fight both the expansionist China and Jihadist Pakistan. Bangladesh must protect its population from such persecution.