- Recently, there have been irresponsible comments from Indian important political leaders which are affecting India’s bilateral relationship with the other countries.
- Comments like, new strain of Coronavirus from Singapore extremely perilous for children, describing illegal Bangladeshi immigrants as vermin and they should be pushed into the Bay of Bengal.
ISSUE WITH THESE STATEMENTS
- Both the statement given with respect to Singapore and Bangladesh got strong rebuke from the respective countries.
- However, these comments were selectively declared as irresponsible targeting one and avoiding others.
- These actions of political figures in India are detrimental to the consolidation of cordial bilateral ties, hence caution should be exercised by the leaders.
NEED OF CAUTION IN DIPLOMACY WITH BANGLADESH
Caution is needed because:
- There are already inevitable bilateral problems like-
- balance of trade issue,
- drought and flood in the 54 trans-boundary rivers flowing from India to Bangladesh,
- the smuggling of goods and vulnerable human beings across the approximately 4,100 km land border.
- Existence of religion based identity in some sections of Bangladesh.
- There are some in Bangladesh who still believe that separation from Hindu India in 1947 was more significant than the break with Pakistan in 1971.
- There is the presence of militant Islamist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami that have linkages and support from outside Bangladesh.
- On the other hand there are others who see Bengali roots and traditions as being of equal validity as their religious affiliation and want a better relationship with India.
- Any irresponsible statement by Indian leaders will make the work tough for those who believe in greater unity of India- Bangladesh.
- Hence, India should show patience and sympathy to inherent fractures in Bangladeshi society to be resolved, through the internal process of healing.
- India should appreciate the steps taken by the Government in Bangladesh for improving bilateral relations, such as-
- Sheikh Hasina, who was elected for a third consecutive term as the country’s PM, since 2008 has maintained vigilant supervision over Muslim fundamentalist terrorists as well as on Northeast militant movements sheltering in Bangladesh resulting in pacification of India’s Northeast.
- Connectivity between India and its Northeast has been enhanced by land, river and the use of Bangladeshi ports.
- Indian investments in Bangladesh have been encouraged by Sheikh Hasina as a result of which there are at least 100,000 Indian nationals now living and working in Bangladesh. This economic integration is bound to increase between India and Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan in the coming time.
- New Delhi should view with satisfaction Bangladesh’s coming graduation in 2026 from ‘least developed’ to ‘developing country’ status, and its steady progress as one of South Asia’s leading performers in human development indicators.
- Both India and Bangladesh depend on each other for security and stability.
- Responsible individuals on both sides of the border, whether in government or the Opposition, must be actively discouraged from words and actions detrimental to the consolidation of the existing cordiality.