Mukti

Still don’t believe the hype

Posted in foreign policy by jrahman on February 3, 2011

The idea was to do a post on 13 January, marking the first anniversary of the Hasina-Manmohan summit. But January 2011 had been a very eventful month, with the dramatic re-emergence of BNP as a force to be reckoned in Bangla politics, the bursting of the DSE bubble, unabated border killings, and the furor over the movie Meherjaan consuming a lot of energy.  So the anniversary post never happened.

But I still want to write about the Indo-Bangla relations — the idea is to do a number of smaller blogs covering different angles.  The one today echoes what I said in January 2010:  don’t believe the hype.

I think the past year amply supports my contention.  Nothing really of substance has happened, in one direction or other, since the summit.   A year on, still don’t believe the hype.

Nothing of substance?  What about that $1 billion loan?

What about it?  Bangladesh has signed loan agreements of similar or larger amount with Turkey, China, Korea and the IMF in the past year.  The Indian loan is on no easier term than any of these other loans (one might argue that Indian loan is more onerous).  How is this a big deal?

Bangladesh has agreed to give India (and others) transit / transshipment facilities, and there are all sorts of talks about the ports.  Big deal?  Not on these numbers.  And not from what Mashiur ‘I don’t believe in models’ Rahman says.  To be sure, I am not convinced that the so-called connectivity will hurt Bangladesh — they might, or they might benefit us.  Either way, don’t believe the hype because there is simply not enough evidence.

On water, nothing has happened on any front — Teesta, Tipaimukh or any other river.  Nothing has happened on trade either.  Border killings continue — though after Felani’s brutal murder, there is at least recognition among the powers-that-be that this is a problem.  But then again, we heard assurances before.  And as bad as these things are, they have been bad for the past four decades, and Bangladesh survives, indeed thrives.  So what’s the big deal?

So what’s there to say about the summit that I didn’t say a year ago?

Hoi hoiHai hai?

Still don’t believe the hype.

4 Responses

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  1. Diganta said, on February 9, 2011 at 3:24 am

    absolutely agreed. There are other deals – such as selling electricity from Tripura and exchange of enclaves and those should go faster. But none of these have actually confirmed or started …

    • jrahman said, on February 13, 2011 at 8:00 am

      In a sense, slow progress in whole bunch of issues is not a big deal. Our bureaucracies work slowly on everything. And on the whole, life has improved despite the lethargic leviathan. The problem here is, expectations were raised to unrealistic levels by politicians and their cheerleaders in the media. And now we may face the backlash which could have been avoided. Stay tuned — more on the topic in the coming weeks.

  2. On Meherjaan « Tahrir said, on February 11, 2011 at 9:39 am

    […] crisis, inflation is about to get worse, politics is heating up, fatwa is being legitimised, the India policy in tatters.  But what’s animating the chattering classes is a […]

  3. On Meherjaan said, on February 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    […] crisis, inflation is about to get worse, politics is heating up, fatwa is being legitimised, the India policy in tatters.  But what’s animating the chattering classes is a […]


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