Indo-Bangla relations 2

Posted in foreign policy by jrahman on March 7, 2010

Since I observed that there wasn’t much to be hai hai or hoi hoi about the Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s recent visit to New Delhi, I’ve been simultaneously accused of ‘giving intellectual support to die-hard anti-Indians’ and ‘being just another Indian lackey’.  Self-evidently I cannot be both.

Though experience teaches me that it is futile to engage with extremists of both sides, I do feel it is important to state where I stand on three key issues — water, security, connectivity.  If nothing else, the reader should know my views on these issues so that I can be held accountable in future arguments. 

Water: Comprehensive agreements on all joint rivers with specific guarantees and safety clauses to safeguard Bangladesh’s rights as a lower riparian county.

Security: Bangladesh has nothing to gain and a lot to lose if its territory is used by foreign militants of whatever origin, and thus should evict all such militants, unilaterally if necessary.

Connectivity: Free movement of goods, services, capital and labour between Bangladesh and its neighbours (that is, India and Burma, but also eventually China and Southeast Asia).

In most cases, my preferred outcome is not very likely in the near term.  This means, I am for any movement towards my preferred outcome.

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