The Indian Connection 2

Posted in foreign policy, politics by jrahman on September 12, 2011

I have been asked about an analysis of the second Manmohan-Hasina summit like the last time.  Well, I am not going to do a blow-by-blow piece of the communique.  Not only is there nothing interesting in it, it seems to be generally accepted that there is nothing in it — which wasn’t the case last time, when there was a lot of chatter and unjustified hype (in both directions).  Plus, the general tenor of punditry after this summit is a bit more mature than was the case in January 2010 — op ed writers and TV talking heads seem to be actually having an evidence-based discussion, as opposed to repeating ‘official party lines’ of Indophobia and Indophilia. 

That is welcome, of course. 

But it also makes it difficult for me to add der taka (which is what 2 cents are worth).  I don’t have any inside knowledge or access to the high-and-mighty.  My normal forte is parsing publicly available information.  If others are already doing it, then what am I supposed to do?

Well I guess I can turn to the speculative.  Over the fold is a follow up to some previous speculations.  Further speculations will follow.

Well, we can rule out the hoi hoi time thesis.  And we have talked about the Economist elsewhere.  Let’s recap the other two speculations:

Whatever transit might be worth economically, there maybe huge strategic benefits for India.

…may be she[Hasina] is seeing the writing on the wall, and wants an insurance, you know, the kind that India did not provide in 1975.

What can we say about these speculations?

Well, an agreementwas signed by the two prime ministers.  It has a fancy title — FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT ON COOPERATION FOR DEVELOPMENT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA AND
  Perhaps it’s my lack of imagination, but I found it even more boring than the Communique.  I looked really hard, and the only thing remotely related to defence/strategic matters was the Article 9, which requires the countrie:

To cooperate on security issues of concern to each other while fully respecting each other’s sovereignty. Neither party shall allow the use of its territory for activities harmful to the other.

This is supposed to ‘turn Bangladesh into an Indian vassal’ / ‘provide Hasina insurance against domestic political upheaval’ / ‘ensure that Bangladeshi territory can be used by India in its inevitable war with China’?  Really? 

The Indira-Mujib treaty of 1972 — you know, the golami chukti — had stuff like:

(iv) The contracting parties shall maintain regular contacts and exchange views with each other on major international problems affecting the interest of both the states;

(viii) In accordance with the ties of friendship existing between the two countries, each of the contracting parties solemnly declare that it shall not enter into or participate in any military alliance directed against the other party. Each of the parties shall refrain from any aggression against the other party and shall not allow the use of its territory for committing any act that may cause military damage to or continue to threat to the security of the other contracting parties;

(ix) Each of the contracting parties shall refrain from giving any assistance to any third party taking part in an armed conflict against the other party. In case if either party is attacked or threatened to attack, the contracting parties shall immediately enter into mutual consultations in order to take necessary measures to eliminate the threat and thus ensure the peace and security of their countries;

And unless you think Mushtaq-Zia-Sattar-Ershad-Khaleda were just as ‘subservient’ to India as Mujib and Hasina were, that treaty mattered zilch in reality.  So this Framework Agreement is something to get worked up about? 

I don’t think so.


4 Responses

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  1. উদয়ন said, on September 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Perhaps you could do a comparison of the crowds that greeted Manmohan on his return to Delhi vs those that welcomed Hasina back in 2010

    • jrahman said, on September 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Heh… someone has already done it in facebook. :p

  2. Rumi said, on September 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Very pertinent in terms of random reckless lebelling of the term Indiaphobe in Bangladesh progressive discourse.

    Can Mamata Bannerjee be said to carry Bangladesh phobia?

    • jrahman said, on September 19, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Indiaphobe is not the only term that is randomly thrown around in the Bangladeshi progressive discourse. Nor is it the most reckless one. Labelling anyone who isn’t braying for Nizami’s blood as a neo-razakar, or singling out women who choose to wear hijab — these are far more problematic than calling people Indiaphobe. On the other hand, recklessness when it comes to India is not a monopoly of the progressive Bangladeshis. Any nuance about India can get you labelled ‘India’r dalal’ — and that’s problematic too.

      I don’t think Mamata Bannerjee carries Bangladesh phobia. Like vast majority of Indians (of whatever ethnicity, religion, or socioeconomic class) I think she doesn’t much care for Bangladesh. It’s about time Bangladeshis stop loving or hating India.

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