Bangladesh-India ties have developed beyond strategic partnership in the last few decades. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the remarks during her four-day visit to India; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Bangladesh is the biggest development partner of India which reflects the level of cooperation between the two neighboring countries.
Seven Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) signed between Bangladesh and India during the visit and joint statements made by the premier of two countries are given below to show the deepness of ties between these two countries.
Dhaka and New Delhi signed seven memorandums of understanding (MoUs) during the second day of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's four-day state visit to India at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The MoUs were exchanged between Bangladesh and India in presence of the two premiers of both the countries. These are - MoU between the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India and Ministry of Water Resources, Government of Bangladesh on withdrawal of Water by India and Bangladesh from common border river Kushiyara, MoU between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), India and the Ministry of Railways of Bangladesh on training of Bangladesh Railway personnel in India, MoU between the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board), Government of India and the Ministry of Railways, Government of Bangladesh on Collaboration in IT systems such as FOIS and other IT applications for Bangladesh Railway.
The other instruments are - MoU between the National Judicial Academy, India and the Supreme court of Bangladesh on Training and Capacity Building Programe for Bangladesh Judicial Officers in India, MoU on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India and Bangladesh Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (BCSIR), Bangladesh, MoU on Cooperation in the Areas of Space Technology and MoU between the Prasar Bharti and Bangladesh Television (BTV) on Cooperation in Broadcasting. Prior to signing of the MoUs, bilateral talks between Bangladesh Prime Minister and her Indian counterpart held at the Hyderabad House. Issues involving mutual interests on security cooperation, investment, enhanced trade relations, power and energy sector cooperation, water sharing of common rivers, Rohingya, water resources management, border management, combating drug smuggling and human trafficking were top agendas during the talks. Against the backdrop of the global economic downturn and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, the visit is considered very important as the two South Asian neighbors also discussed enhanced cooperation to overcome the crisis. Prior to holding the bilateral talks, the two premiers had a one-on-one discussion.
Earlier, at her arrival at the Hyderabad House, Narendra Modi received Sheikh Hasina and accorded her a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Bangladesh Premier also inspected the guard of honour there. National anthems of the two countries were played.
Video clips on the Maitree power plant, Rupsha Bridge, Supply of road construction equipment and machinery, Khulna-Darshana railway line, and Parbatipur-Kaunia railway line, were screened on the occasion.
Bangladesh Premier also handed a book on the historic March 7 speech of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman that translated in various languages to her Indian counterpart. The Prime Minister started the second day of her four-day state tour to India by visiting the Rashtrapati Bhavan where she was received by Narendra Modi with a ceremonial reception. After visiting the Rashtrapati Bhaban, the Prime Minister went to Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat to pay rich tribute to the great Indian leader. Joint statements had been issued that includes-
The two countries agree to expedite efforts to improve bilateral and sub -regional connectivity through early operationalization of BBIN Motor vehicle agreement . Dhaka wants Delhi to ensure predictable supply of essential food commodities and other items from India. Bangladesh reiterates the request for concluding the interim agreement on the Teesta water sharing. Both sides agree to work together bringing the border killing down to zero, Rohingya issue has been discussed for their safe return and others point.
India has offered free transit via its territory to Bangladesh for exporting its products to third countries through specified land custom stations, airports and seaports. India has also been providing free transit to Bangladesh for exporting its products to Nepal and Bhutan.
It is mentionable that this visit was held on the back drop of visit of Indian President and prime minister during Mujib Borsho.
The understandings and statements have covered all important areas of co-operations on water sharing, connectivity, trade-investment, capacity building, training, science-technology, security and energy etc. The MoU on water sharing of the Kushiyara River is an important development on water management. We hope water management and sharing of other important rivers specially Teesta River will be done in shortest possible time. Our Prime Minister met with the businessmen and entrepreneurs and called upon them to invest in Bangladesh. It is mentionable that different projects are in progress based on 8 billion dollars LoC. One unit of the Rampal Power Project and of one thousand three hundred twenty MW has already been started. Power transmission and generation on transmission and generation bilaterally and sub regional way including Nepal and Bhutan are going on. PM Sheikh Hasina also talked to Adani Group of India for co-operation in power sector. The co-operation and connectivity have reached to a new height, now the two leaders have taken a decision to start negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).Bangladesh reiterated its eagerness to be partner in the ongoing initiative of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway project.
We know that Bangladesh has already graduated to developing country from LDC. It has reached to the MDGs fulfilling the terms and conditions. Considering all social and economic indicators, considering this Bangladesh has become a role model for most of the countries across the globe. Analysts forecast that it will be developed country by 2040's.
India is now the fastest growing fifth largest economy of the world. In PPP it occupied the third largest position. It is mentionable that according to international organizations and analysts, India will become a developed country by 2047. To mention, McKinsey & Co CEO Bob Stenfels said India will be the world's future expertise manufacturing unit as it should have 20 per cent of the globe's working inhabitants by 2047. He further said that it isn't just India's decade but India's century with all key components in place. It will occupy the top position in the world in economy.
Bangladesh-India ties are based on joint sacrifice during Liberation War for upholding values. The friendship through time is the model for other countries of the world.
Dr NC Bhowmik is an academic scholar,
freedom fighter and former ambassador.