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  Opinion   Edit  24 Jun 2024  AA Edit | Bangla ties: India ticks all boxes

AA Edit | Bangla ties: India ticks all boxes

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jun 24, 2024, 12:07 am IST
Updated : Jun 24, 2024, 12:07 am IST

India and Bangladesh Strengthen Ties with Strategic Agreements and Economic Cooperation

President Droupadi Murmu with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina during a meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, Saturday, June 22, 2024. (PTI Photo)
 President Droupadi Murmu with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina during a meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, Saturday, June 22, 2024. (PTI Photo)

India served its foreign policy focus of “neighbourhood first” in a productive meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh. In welcoming her as the first major foreign guest and sovereign leader after the new government was formed this month, India expanded on warm ties with Bangladesh with a series of 10 pacts, besides agreeing on initiatives in several sectors such as maritime security, space and telecommunication.

India’s good intentions in strengthening bonds with its nearest neighbour to the east may have gone beyond the warm vibes that Mr Narendra Modi and Ms Sheikh Hasina Wazed have been sharing for quite some time now. The underlying trust and understanding were reflected in several agreements signed towards cooperation.  

A free trade pact is also being put on the anvil while agreements on defence assistance by way of modernising Bangladesh forces and initiating talks on river water sharing, which has been a sensitive subject for decades, signify how much the two countries are prepared to move their ties forward. That the two states also see eye to eye on the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative also means that the relationship is on a higher plane while considering that the China factor will always be present in any bilateral relationship in the region for India.

The trade deficit of more than $10 billion annually may be weighing on Bangladesh, but it must make sense logistically for it to procure certain goods from India while its flourishing garments industry still imports raw material from China. As against a favourable trade deficit, India has been helping Bangladesh build up its infrastructure with loans amounting to $ 8 bn in the last eight years.

Whatever may be an occasional challenge like immigration, economic cooperation is on a firm footing and India can pride itself on having a warm neighbour with ties fostering regional growth as well as stability.

There is a pattern to be seen in India stepping up the ante in extending the hand of friendship to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mauritius, and Maldives too despite the strains showing there in China’s strong hand, meaning the neighbours first is not just a slogan.

 

Tags: bangladesh pm sheikh hasina, india bangladesh ties, aa edit