Bangladesh shares 4094 kilometers of land border with India on three sides, the fourth side being open to the Bay of Bengal. Various issues need to be resolved if the relationship between the two is to be improved, from sharing the water of 54 international rivers that flow from India to Bangladesh to controlling terrorism and promoting economic development. India played a huge role in separating Bangladesh from Pakistan. It was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state and established diplomatic relations with the country immediately after its independence in December 1971. Since then India’s influence on Bangladesh is something which can’t be ignored.
India’s ties with Bangladesh
According to US state department, The foreign and domestic policies of Bangladesh are heavily influenced by the region’s major powers, particularly India. Bangladesh and Indian bilateral trade may be seen to mirror the broader context of regional and sub-regional cooperation. Any move towards cooperation on a regional level will, to a certain extent, correspond with the relationship that the most powerful economy in the region has with its neighbors. The Bangladesh India relationship, therefore, is important as a testing ground for the economic future of the region.
According to a US State Department report,
“In past years, the India-Bangladesh relationship has provided openings for transnational threats, but the current government has demonstrated its interest in regional cooperation on counter-terrorism.The government of Bangladesh has demonstrated political will and firm commitment to combat domestic and transnational terrorist groups.Its counterterrorism efforts made it harder for transnational terrorists to operate or establish safe havens in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has achieved significant improvements to tackle terrorist’s financing.Significant improvements have been made to the law, including more extensive criminalization of terrorist financing, prohibitions on supporting individuals (rather than simply organizations) who engage in terrorist activity, and an ability to promptly freeze funds and assets of those engaged in or supporting terrorism” reads the report.
Bangladesh may remain under India’s influence, and not Pakistan’s, only because India is strong. Nations tend to be friendly with stronger nations since India is closer to Bangladesh, it has better opportunity to stay influential in the region.