India-Bangladesh CEO Forum
- The India-Bangladesh CEO Forum will meet soon for the first time.
- The two countries are currently working towards finalising a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to deepen trade and economic ties as partners rather than competitors.
- The forum will help to promote mutual investments.
- Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal recently virtually inaugurated the Bangladesh International Investment Summit (BIIS) held in Dhaka.
- He also highlighted that Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia with a volume of over USD 10 billion of trade and hence holds a strong importance for India.
- He also congratulated Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the country’s transition from a less-developed country to a developing nation status.
India Bangladesh relations during the pandemic
- India had sent over one crore COVID-19 vaccine doses to the country and has extended concessional credit lines of about $8 billion, the highest for any single country.
- A bilateral textile industry forum has also been constituted to facilitate cooperation in the textile sector.
- India is also developing two Indian economic zones at Mirsarai and Mongla.
- The two countries will be celebrating December 6 as Maitri Divas, to mark 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence and its bilateral ties with India.
Other cooperations in the past
- Land Boundary Agreement (2015) in which India and Bangladesh swapped the disputed islands and allowed the inhabitants to choose their country of residence.
- India has provided 3 Lines of Credit(LOCs) of about $8 billion to Bangladesh since 2014 for the road construction, railways, bridges, and ports.
- India also provided LOCs for the construction of Padma bridge whose funding was rejected by the World Bank.
- 3 passenger and freight railway services are currently in operation between India and Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh government has demolished anti-India insurgents from its borders, making the India-Bangladesh border peaceful and infiltration free, and aiding India to redeploy its resources to more contentious borders like Indp-Pak.
- Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala Bus Service was launched in 2015 that shortened the distance between Kolkata and Agartala from 1,650 km(through chicken’s neck or Siliguri corridor) to 500 km.
- Indian Prime Minister inaugurated the 1.9 km long ‘Maitri Setu’ bridge that connects Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh.
- Border Haats organized in the border districts also enhance trade and people to people connectivity in India-Bangladesh relations.
- India provides a power supply of 600MW from Palatana Power Plant in Tripura.
- Bangladesh accounts for more than 35% of India’s international medical patients and contributes more than 50% of India’s revenue from medical tourism.
Concerns in India-Bangladesh relations
- Teesta water sharing dispute.
- Border killings .
- National Register of Citizens .
- Drug trafficking issue- Bangladesh a major contributor to it in India.
- Bangladesh opposing India’s proposed the Tapaimukh Dam on the Barak River in Manipur and the Interlinking of the rivers project by India.
- China's cheque-book diplomacy in Bangladesh.
- India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state and establish diplomatic relations with the country. India and Bangladesh relations have a shared history, culture, language. However, the above challenges pose a threat to future course and these need to be resolved soon to prevent China from extending its diplomacy to a good friend and ally of India.