India-Bangladesh | 07 Oct 2019

Recently, India and Bangladesh signed seven agreements and also inaugurated three projects to deepen their partnership.

Key Highlights

  • Seven Agreements include:
    • The use of the Chattogram and Mongla ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India, particularly from Northeastern India.
    • Use of Bangladesh’s Feni river for drinking water supply in Tripura.
    • Exchange of data and information to prepare a framework of interim sharing agreements for six rivers — Manu, Muhuri, Khowai and Gomati rivers of Tripura and Dharla river of Bangladesh and Dudhkumar river of West Bengal.
    • Daudkanti (Bangladesh)-Sonamura (Tripura) inland water trade route to be included under Protocol of the Inland Water Transit and Trade.
    • Consensus on lifting restrictions on entry and exit from land ports in India for Bangladeshi citizens travelling on valid documents.
    • Implementation of the Lines of Credit (LoCs) committed by India to Bangladesh.
  • Three bilateral development partnership projects include:
    • Import of bulk Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Bangladesh
    • Inauguration of Vivekananda Bhaban (students hostel) at Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka.
    • Inauguration of Bangladesh-India Professional Skill Development Institute (BIPSDI) at the Institution of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB), Khulna, Bangladesh.
  • Both sides noted the progress made in finalization of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Establishment of Coastal Surveillance Radar System in Bangladesh.
    • India has provided such systems to Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives and planning one in Myanmar.
    • The coastal surveillance system will pave way for Indo-Bangladesh White Shipping Agreement in future. This will be useful amid growing terror threats via seas and growing presence of China in the Bay of Bengal region.
  • Both Leaders agreed to early operationalization of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement for movement of goods and passengers between the member countries who are willing and ready; or to work towards a bilateral India-Bangladesh Motor Vehicles Agreement, as appropriate.
  • The leaders directed their officials to expedite establishment of twelve Border Haats which have been agreed to by both countries.
  • A feasibility study for the Ganga-Padma barrage project to be conducted as part of an upgraded version of the 1996 Ganga Water Sharing treaty.
  • The Bangladesh Prime Minister raised concerns over roll out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, an exercise carried to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam and weed out illegal Bangladeshis.
  • The Bangladesh Prime Minister requested the Indian counterpart to use his “good relations” with the Myanmar government to facilitate the return of all the refugees (Rohingyas), while appreciating the aid India has given to refugees in Bangladesh as well as 250 homes built for them in Myanmar.

Some Facts about the Relationship

  • India was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh and establish diplomatic relations immediately after its independence in December 1971.
  • Defence Cooperation: India and Bangladesh share the historical legacy of cooperation and support during the Liberation War of 1971.Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between the two countries.
  • Border Management: India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours. The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015.
  • Cooperation over Rivers: India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is working since June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems.
  • Economic Relations: Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia. India’s exports to Bangladesh for financial year 2018-19 (April-March) stood at US $ 9.21 bn and imports from Bangladesh for the same period stood at US $ 1.22 bn.
  • Cooperation in Power Sector: This has become one of the hallmarks of India- Bangladesh relations. Bangladesh is currently importing 1160 MW of power from India.

Source: TH