Still don’t believe the hype
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 hoi? Hai hai?
Still don’t believe the hype.