India Bangladesh Relations

 India - Bangladesh Relations

Each of these states is land-locked and has shorter route to the sea through Bangladesh.
India's links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. There is much that unites the two countries - a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, passion for music, literature and the arts.
 India Bangladesh Relations

Why Bangladesh is Important to India:

1. Geopolitical Importance of Bangladesh
  • Bangladesh’s location is a strategic wedge between mainland India and Northeastern seven states of the Indian Union.
  • Each of these states is land-locked and has shorter route to the sea through Bangladesh.   

2. Socio-economic development of North-East
  • Transit agreement with Bangladesh will spur the socio-economic development of North-East India.
3. To reduce the influence of china
  • A ‘neutral’ Bangladesh also ensures containment of an assertive China in this region, including along the strategic sea-lanes of the Bay of Bengal. It will also help to counter China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) strategy. 
4. To contain insurgency in North-East
  •  A friendly Bangladesh can ensures that no anti-India terror or insurgent activities can be carried out from its soil.  
5. Success of Act-East policy 
  • Bangladesh is a natural pillar of this policy. It can act as a ‘bridge’ to economic and political linkages with South East Asia and beyond.

Major Irritants with Bangladesh:-

  1. Illegal migration: Since the 1971 war of independence that created the state of Bangladesh, millions of Bangladeshi immigrants (the vast majority of them illegal) have poured into India. 
  2.  Presence of anti-India groups: Despite a crackdown by the Sheikh Hasina government, the continuing presence of anti-India forces across the border like Harkat-al-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the recently banned political outfit Jamaat-e-Islami, and HUJI-B whose links to al Qaeda. 
  3.  Border Management: The Indo-Bangladesh border is notorious for smuggling, apart from trafficking in arms, drugs and people. 
  4.  China relations: Bangladesh uses China card to supplement its bargaining capacity against India.  
  5. Water-sharing: India- Bangladesh share 54 trans-boundary rivers, big and small.  


1. Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric power Project
  • Bangladesh has been demanding to stop the construction of the Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric Power Project on the Barak River on the eastern edge of Bangladesh.
  • Indian government has assured Bangladesh that it will not take any unilateral decision on the Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric Power Project which may adversely affect Bangladesh. 
  • Bangladesh says that the massive dam will disrupt the seasonal rhythm of the river and have an adverse effect on downstream agriculture, fisheries and ecology of the region.
2. Ganga river dispute
  • In 1996, the sharing of the Ganga waters was successfully agreed upon between the two nations. However, the major area of dispute has been India’s construction and operation of the Farakka Barrage to increase water supply to the river Hooghly.
  • Bangladesh complains that it does not get a fair share of the water in the dry season and some of its areas get flooded when India releases excess waters during the monsoons.  
3.Teesta River water sharing issue :
Teesta River originates from the Pahunri (or Teesta Kangse) glacier in Sikkim, flows through the northern parts of West Bengal before entering Bangladesh. It merges with the Brahmaputra River (or Jamuna in Bangladesh). The river is a major source of irrigation to the paddy growing greater Rangpur region of Bangladesh.
  • In 1983, an ad hoc arrangement on sharing water was made, according to which Bangladesh got 36% and India 39% of the waters, while the remaining 25% remained unallocated. The transient agreement could not be implemented.
  • Bangladesh has sought an equitable distribution of Teesta waters, on the lines of Ganga Water Treaty of 1996.
  • In 2011 India and Bangladesh finalized an arrangement, by which India would get 42.5% and Bangladesh 37.5% while remaining 20% would flow unhindered in order to maintain a minimum water flow of the river. This agreement was not signed due to opposition from chief minister of West Bengal.
Importance of the Teesta agreement:
The success of the deal on the Teesta is considered to be a political necessity for both governments. 
  • The deal will help New Delhi get more political leverage, which, it thinks, is necessary to check the rising influence of an extra regional power – China – in the Bay of Bengal region.  
  • India’s perceived refusal to give Bangladesh its share of the river waters and deny that country’s rights has fuelled a lot of anti-India sentiments in Bangladesh. India is being accused of being a regional bully.
  • For Sheikh Hasina, the deal will support her chances to retain power in the 2018 general elections in Bangladesh by projecting her as a leader who can secure her country’s interests and not a ‘pawn’ in the hands of India.
  •  The anger in Bangladesh against India has led many influential sections of the people - the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and a large section of the powerful bureaucracy, military and civil society -to call for deepening ties with China.
  • BNP has been inimical to India’s interests and its ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami, has been vociferously anti-India.  

India’s Position
On the Teesta River, Indian PM reiterated government’s strong resolve to conclude the water sharing treaty.  However, the central government is not willing to go ahead with the agreement without taking West Bengal CM on board.


Prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina paid official visit to India. India and Bangladesh signed 22 agreements on various domains like Defence, Nuclear energy, Cyber Security etc.

Following are the list of agreements:

Defence related agreements:
India and Bangladesh signed an umbrella agreement on defence cooperation.
  • It would enhance military cooperation with Bangladesh, where China wields considerable influence.
  • Around 80% of Bangladesh’s military equipment is brought from China, including strategic purchases like submarines:-
  1. MoU on Defence Cooperation Framework. 
  2. MoU for extending Defence Line of Credit of USD 500 million. It will allow Bangladesh to buy $500 million worth of Indian defence equipment, and has been planned to chip away dependence on China.
Agreement on civil nuclear energy:
The framework agreement on civil nuclear energy will provide for setting up nuclear reactors in Bangladesh by India.
  • Agreement in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Arrangement for the exchange of technical information and co-operation in the Regulation of Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection.
  • Inter-Agency agreement on cooperation regarding Nuclear Power Plant Projects in Bangladesh.
Development of Sylhet city with financial aid from India:
India and Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the sustainable development of Sylhet city with financial aid from India. 
  • Under the project, India will provide aid for the construction of a five-storey School Building, a six-storey cleaner colony building; and for some development work at a total cost of around Taka 240 million.
  • The signing was the follow-up of an earlier MoU of 2013 for the implementation of sustainable development projects in socio-economic sectors of Bangladesh.  

1 comment:

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