Since the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh, India has been a genuine friend of this country and also had actively joined Bangladesh’s war of independence against Pakistani occupation forces. During the past 53 years, Bangladesh-India relations has been extremely cordial while particularly since 2009, under the magnanimous statesmanship of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, relations between Dhaka and New Delhi have been further deepening and strengthening thus reaching a newer height.
India and Bangladesh have multifaceted and increasing relations since they are each other’s nearest neighbors. Trade and business, electricity and energy, transportation and connectivity, research and technology, military and security, marine affairs, climate change, and sustainable development are all areas of cooperation between the two nations. Bangladesh is a major partner in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hallmark vision of “Neighborhood First”.
It may be mentioned here that, Bangladesh are India are two important and time-tested partners in South Asian region, while both the nations have been playing crucial role in each other’s foreign policy as well as under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has played extremely important role in combating militancy outfits in the northeastern states in India who were using Bangladesh soil for continuing terrorist activities inside India. For this particular reason, Indian media outlets have been praising Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by stating “Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh means safer India”.
According to Indian outlet India Today, “In the Hasina government, India found a partner to keep Pakistan’s plans to destabilize the region at bay. Various insurgency groups in the Northeast that found havens across the border during the [Khaleda] Zia government were rooted out. Militancy dropped drastically during Hasina’s rule as compared to the [Khaleda] Zia rule.
“On Hasina’s watch, all the important leaders of militant groups were either caught and tried by Dhaka, or handed over to India. These include United Liberation Front of Assam General Secretary Anup Chetia”.
It may be mentioned here that, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ideological partner Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) have been actively pushing forward their anti-India agenda by extending support, patronization and even funding to several militancy and insurgency groups, who were continuing terrorist activities inside India.
It is also essential to mention here that BNP and Jamaat are not only in favor of encouraging and patronizing anti-India terrorist and insurgency groups, they have a deep-rooted agenda of destabilizing India through such notorious actions. In contrast, a government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is not only essential for a prosperous Bangladesh, it also is required for ensuring peace and stability in the region.
During the past 14-plus years, notwithstanding the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral trade between Dhaka and New Delhi has increased steadily and rapidly, rising from US$ 9.69 billion in FY 2020-21 to US$ 16.15 billion in FY 2021-22. Bangladesh’s exports to India have expanded steadily since 2011, and over the last ten years, it has virtually quadrupled. Bangladesh exported commodities to India for US$51.25 million in the 2011–12 fiscal year; this amount rose to US$199 million in the next fiscal year, 2021–22.
After China, India is now Bangladesh’s second-largest import market. In the fiscal year 2017–18, products worth US$8.62 billion were imported from India, according to data analyzed by Bangladesh Bank. Even while the COVID-19 epidemic caused a little decline in the middle of the final fiscal year 2021–22, imports almost increased to US$16.16 billion.
To strengthen the bilateral relations even further, India invited the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to the G20 conference out of all its South Asian neighbors. Also, Bangladesh has begun negotiations with India on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Meaning, Bangladesh-India relations is expected to grow further in the years to come.
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