India and Bangladesh, the members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), share a good relation, although sometimes there are border disputes. The relation between both the countries has strengthened over the decades especially after Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2008.
After a wide-ranging talk, India and Bangladesh inked seven agreements and launched three projects in October 2019. The projects included the sourcing of bulk Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Bangladesh to Tripura by using Bangladeshi trucks. Dhaka also allowed New Delhi to withdraw 1.82 cusecs of water from Feni River for a drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura.
The other agreements and projects are Bangladesh to open a deputy high commission in Chennai, SOP on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports for movement of goods to and from India, MoU on providing coastal surveillance system, MoU between University of Dhaka and Hyderabad and agreement on implementation of Indian line of credit to Bangladesh.
It may be mentioned that both the nations have come closure since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015 and round back visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina to India in 2017. Many notable developments took place since then.
Resolution of long-pending land and maritime boundaries asserting the issue of enclaves, conclusion of over ninety instruments comprising in the hi-tech areas including electronics, cyber-security, space, information technology and civil nuclear energy and observed increase in bilateral trade are some of the important developments between the countries.
During Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015, a total of 22 agreements were signed between the two nations while in 2018, both the countries inaugurated the 130 km long Bangladesh-India Friendship pipeline to supply 4 lakh metric tonne of diesel to Bangladesh. In 2017, both nations signed two defence agreements.
But, growing concern over the National Register of Citizens is the tension of Bangladesh at present. The NRC exercise in Assam aims at detection and deportation of illegal migrants from India on the basis of the cut-off date laid down by the historic Assam Accord. However, the Government of India told Bangladesh that the whole procedure is completely judicial and India’s internal matter. But, the Indian government must not ignore Hasina’s questions regarding NRC.
It needs to be mentioned that Dhaka is already bearing the burden of more than seven lakh stateless Rohingya refugees, who fled Myanmar following riots two years ago. An already overpopulated country has therefore refused to take back more people from India. Meanwhile, Modi assured Hasina that the excluded people from the NRC final list, which was published on August 31st, 2019, would not be deported to Bangladesh.
Identification and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis is a long pending demand of the All Assam Students’ Union and other supporting organizations. The final NRC included a total of 3,11,21,004 people and excluded 19,06,657 people including those who did not submit claims.
Photo credit: @narendramodi