Indo-Bangladesh Relationship

1 January 2017

Ultimately, it was a victory of New Delhi. After the Bangladesh War of independence of 1971, India’s position was further strengthened. During the war India proved to be the closest and strongest ally of Bangladesh . But following independence, the transition in the direction was marked by many ups and downs even during the life time of Shikh Mujib. Lord Polmerston gave a dictum in 18th century -In international relations we have neither permanent enemies nor perpetual friends, but only permanent interests.

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This quotation would appear more as a truism for Indo-Bangladesh relations than any other instance. Though Bangladesh has emerged as an independent state with Indian support, it has inherited bitter relations with India from Pakistan . This animosity has its root in the British imperial policy of divide and rule. During the early phase at relation with India, three crucial bi-lateral issues come up. They were – A. Sharing of Gangas Waters on a permanent basis, B. The d elimination of sea boundary in the Bay of Bengal and, C. Redrawing the land boundary between the two countries.

These issues could have been party resolved during the term of government of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Bahman who was close to and respected by the Indian leaders. Besides these, there are some other issues which are so important now for a good Indo-Bangladesh relationship. Bangladesh’s Strength and Weakness Bangladesh strength lies in having a huge population, homogeneity of race, common language, communal harmony, fertile lands and availability of gas. Homogeneity and absence of federal social structure have increase unity among people. Bangladesh has a sea-frontage and it facilitates, among thers, export and import of goods. The country is a land of rivers that are used for navigation. The natural resources of rivers and sea (fish), the reverie and monsoon rains have profound impact on their livelihood. The country is strategically located between the Seven Eastern Indian provinces and the rest of India. The country can provide river transit route to India and Nepal used the territory for transiting their goods for exports and imports. Bangladesh is not self-sufficient in producing all consumer goods which is as against the above advantages.

Impoverished agriculture conditions have led to low living standards low purchasing power of the people. Conservative rural society often discourages Women’s economic and social empowerment . Bangladesh’s weakness lies in small size of territory, a large unskilled labor force, deficient in mineral resources, landless peasants, gender inequality, disparity is distribution of natural wealth and weak democratic tradition. The climate is not favorable for hard work because of humidity. Besides these, the recurrent occurrence of natural disasters (flood, cyclones, drought etc. ) is the vital factor of weakness of Bangladesh.

Indo-Bangladesh Relationship Bangladesh formal relationship with India commenced on 6th December, 1972 when it had accorded recognition to Bangladesh within three days of the outbreak of Indio-Pakistan War. India’s meant the birth of Bangladesh as an independent country was a foregone calculation, although Pakistan army didn’t surrender until 16th December 1971. Bangladesh has attached great importance to its relations with India and developed an intricate maze of economic, political, cultural and personal connections with its largest neighbor, India. However, relationship with India has gone through an up and down curve during last 40 years.

This uneven relationship appears to be due largely to the perception of one country against the other about each other’s role and attitudes towards bilateral and regional issues. This is not unusual because neighboring countries around the world maintain in general a kind of “See-saw” relationship with each others. Indo-Bangladesh Friendship Treaty: Boon of bilateral relations: When we discuss about the bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh, it is necessary for us to discuss and better understand the 1972’s Friendship Treaty between Bangladesh and India.

It is considered the boon of bilateral relation between these two countries. In 1972 on 19th March this India Bangladesh friendship Treaty signed for a term of 25 years. This sign was the formal aspect of relationship for these two neighboring countries. The preamble sets out the state of relations which is important to quote below:- Inspired by common ideas of peace, secularism, democracy, socialism and nationalism, having struggled together for the retaliations of these ideas and cemented ties of friendship through blood and sacrifices which led to the triumphant emergence of a free, sovereign and independent Bangladesh.

Determined to maintain fraternal and good neighboring relations and transform their border of eternal peace and friendship. Adhering firmly to the basic tenets of non-alignment, peaceful co-existence, mutual co-operation, non- interference in internal affairs and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty. Determined to safeguard peace, stability and security and to promote progress of their respective counties through all possible avenues of friendship between them. The worlds were indeed noble and lofty words.

The second, third and fourth recitals are to be examined later and to what extent they were translated into action by the two countries. Before this treaty India and USSR singed a similar friendship Treaty in August 1971. Though the duration of Indo-Bangladesh was 25 years untill1997. So Bangladesh follow the policy and shows it because India and Bangladesh signed a treaty and also India and USSR signed same treaty . So Bangladesh reflects the importance of these two countries policy –external and internal.

This treaty gave birth many question because of the secret nature of negotiating the Treaty and because one provision (Article 9 of the treaty) could be interpreted in many ways, not apparently favorable to Bangladesh interest. It is a matter of sorrow that India can’t approve this treaty in their parliament (Locoshava) ,but Bangladesh approved this treaty in 1973 in the parliament( Jatio Shansad) Geographical Location: Internationally Bangladesh share total 4165 km border line with India. But there is a dispute about 16. 5 km border line and this problem still running today.

In those disputes areas conflict between both countries border security guards and general people occur frequently even every day. A competition of arms rise red alert is the incident of day to day life. Sometimes Flag Meeting was arranged to reduce the level of conflict among them. A treaty was signed in 1974 named “Mujib-Indira Treaty” for that reason to resolve this problem. Bangladesh Government approved this treaty but the Indian government (Lokoshava) can’t approve this treaty after 37 years. It is a crucial work done by India. All time they think we are the “Saltine State” of them.

This problem affect very much on the bilateral relationship between Bangladesh and India. Border Issue: The land boundary between India and Bangladesh was determinate in 1947 by Sir Cyril Radcliff when British India partitioned. But Radcliff made some problem in boundary in division time. Both India and Bangladesh hold some land of other country. These lands are called Chitmahal. In this system Bangladesh hold land of India and India also the same. It is still running through the Pakistan period. There are total 111 Chitmahal of India which lies in the land boundary of Bangladesh and 51 of Indian border.

So the problem of Dhogram Berubari and Angarpota enclaves were previously between India and Pakistan (now Bangladesh). But after the liberation of Bangladesh the problem still stay. Border problem are highly emotional and not easy to settle when they arise even within a country. To prevent border conflict an agreement was signed in 1974 named Indo- Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement. After signing this treaty Bangladesh government passed it in the parliament but till today India didn’t do it. As a result, the provisions of the agreement can’t be put into effect.

So, the exchange of more than 50 enclaves by India to Bangladesh and the demarcation of 6. 5 km border remain as unfinished tasks. Seed of Discontent-Tin Bigha Corridor between Mainland Bangladesh and its enclaves within India: Complete land-boundary demarcation includes landing over to Bangladesh of the Tin Bigha” corridor to Dahagram” and Angarpota” enclaves simultaneously with the transfer of Bangladesh to India the most important issue between India and Bangladesh. According to land boundary Agreement of 16 May, 1974 these two countries exchange the enclaves between them.

After that all the enclaves in Bangladesh and India would be exchanged except South Berubari for India and Dahagram and Angarpota in Bangladesh. It is a matter of sorrow that Bangladesh gave Berubari to India but we don’t get Tin Bigha fCorridor. But after a long time, 26th June in 1992 India opened Tin Bigha for us. As a result, the people of Dahagram and Angarpota easily visit mainland Bangladesh and vice verse. However, at present the crucial reality is that Bangladesh is not allowed to use the corridor freely. A huge number of Bangladeshi was killed by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India.

This practice affect very much in the bilateral relationships of Bangladesh and India. Brutality of BSF in border area: The BSF of India is like the Nazi force of Hitler. They killed the general Bangladeshi enclaves’ people. But these people are not threat for India security. Besides, when the people of Bangladeshi enclaves go near the border line the BSF of India shoot them without any warning. India do it because to show their power. The BGF of Bangladesh tolerate this unlawful. Sometimes, they call matter “Flag Meeting” with BSF of India .

But after 2/3 days the BSF forget the commitment. They do the same thing again. We all know that, last year a girl of 13/13 years named “Falani” shoot by the Indian BSF . Her dead body was hanging with a fence of “Katatar”. The whole world saw this . We can’t understand how this girl was the threat of India? Bangladesh government informed Indian government to take necessary steps to stop border killing. But the BSF do not pay any attention to this proposal. They directly declared it is impossible to stop shooting in the border. But, I want to know how an armless people be a threat of India?

The bilateral relationship with India comes to a serious hogition level. It is because of the brutality of BSF. BSF should think that Bangladesh is a independent sovereign country. Cattle Smuggling Issue: Cattle smuggling is a border related serious issue of Indo-Bangladesh relationship. The clashes between the BSF and the BGF also result because of the problem of Cattle Smuggling from India to Bangladesh. The BSF has arrested over 2000 smugglers took the cattle in an unfair means. Sometimes they give bride to the BSF foe passing border. Some experts negate this issue.

But, it is the high time to pay attention for that issue to stop the cattle smuggling in the border. In this year, one cattle smuggler was caught by the BSF and BSG torture in an middle age tradition. They nude the guilty person and tortures him. Influence of BSF inside the border area of Bangladesh: Sometimes the Indian BSF illegally entered inside the border area of Bangladesh. And, they capture the harvests cattle and the rice of the field. The BSF took it and go the India border. It is just reflects the quotation of “Might is Right”.

But when the two country established bilateral relationship between them. They should ensure a friendly environment between them. Dispute due to Border Guidelines: A major cause of dispute between Indo-Bengal relations has been the differing interpretation of border guidelines framed in 1975. India maintains that these guidelines are meant for the demolition of defensive structures within 150 years of No Man’s Land. They don’t apply to the building of a fence along the border since it is meant to check smuggling and other illegal activities.

But the BGF has misinterpreted the guidelines probably with the sole object of capturing India Land trapped between the fence and the No Man’s Land. Some suggestion can be opted to solve the Bangladesh –India border problem. These are- Fulfilling the claims of 1974 border treaty. Immediately stop shoot at sight policy of BSF and alleged BSF soldiers should be trialed. A legal body can be formed who will guide both the authorities to maintain international standards of border management. Both governments have to initiate development policies which can mitigate basic needs at the poverty stricken border regions.

More people to people contract of two contracts should be promoted. Cross-border trade should be increased to avoid border smuggling. Water Issue: After getting independence from Pakistan, Bangladesh faced the problem of water sharing problem with India. Bangladesh is a land of river. Some 230 small or big rivers flow in the heart of the Bangladesh. But the main rivers numbers are 57. Though 54 rivers flow into Bangladesh by India. As a result for water supply flow we depend totally with the mercy of India . And India can easily influence over any river by controlling its flow.

To solve these problems a joint river commission was made in 1972. But, in 1974, when the India opened their “Farakka Barrage”, the adverse effect fall upon the flow of water in Bangladesh. A short term treaty signed in 1975, but it could not see the light of hope. This situation falls down day by day. To solve this problem a 30 years long treaty signed in 12th December on 1996. This is done to solve water problem permanently. But, we can’t see any hope till today. Farakka Barrage: After the independence of Bangladesh Gangas water sharing issue put the needs of future discords.

The Farakka Barrage (over Ganga River) disputes which was a source of tension and most disturbing problem between India and Pakistan now Bangladesh. It affects therelation between two countries. The Water disputes over the sharing of the Gangas originated when India decided to construct a barrage at Farakka, 11 miles from Bangladesh border. By the end of 1974, the barrage was completed. Although Bangladesh –India Friendship Treaty of 1972, the Farakka Barrage was put into operation in 1975 without deciding the allocation of Waters of the Gangas.

According to international Law, the upstream state can‘t exploit the waters of downstream country. But such difficulty faced by economically weak and small countries, such as Bangladesh against bigger countries such as India. Impact of Farakka Barrage over Bangladesh: After the independence of Bangladesh the barrage becomes a loop and death-blow. After construction of the barrage the adverse impacts point out in the below- * Major consequences of reduction of the dry season flow. * Low water flow during dry season(January-May) * Socio-economic loss * Meeting Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) becomes difficult for Bangladesh. Increase in water related disasters, loss of infrastructure, socio-economical instability. * Loss in fish aquaculture and navigability. * Agricultural loss due to low flow during non-monsoon. * Industrial loss due to salinity intrusion, low water quality, loss of navigability. * Reduce fertility of the soil. * Loss of Biodiversity. * Increase drought. * Environmental loss. * Increase poverty, loss of employment and income. * Low productivity of land. * Deforestation in Sunderban due to salinity intrusion. * Increase salinity of ground water and lowering ground water table. Health risk due to low water quality and food insecurity. Sharing of Gangas Waters: The sharing of Gangas Water is a long standing issue between India and Bangladesh over the appropriate allocation and development of the water resources of the Gangas River that flow from Northern India into Bangladesh. The issue has subject of conflict for almost 34 years , with several bi-lateral agreements and sound of talks failing to produce results. However, a comprehensive bilateral treaty was signed by the then India PM H. D. Deve Gowda and the then Bangladeshi PM Sheikf Hasina Wajed on December 12,1996 in New Delhi.

The treaty established a 30 years water sharing agreement with guaranteed minimum qualities of water supply for Bangladesh, whose right as a lower level riparian was recognized. Water sharing of Common Rivers: Indian government yet to give weight age to right of small neighbor water sharing of joint rivering between India and Bangladesh ( such as- Teesta, feni, Gomoti, Khawai,Karnaphuli, Surma etc. ) . India is a upper riparian country , so her government pull less importance or honor to its small neighbor country Bangladesh. , situates in the lower riparian zone than India.

In the name of intera- river connection project, India already distributes the Water of some 30 rivers by 38 connecting Cannale in the North and North-West part. According to their plan, they preserve the water for dry season and when the rainy season comes. , they stop their water prevention project. That’s why the whole Bangladesh suffer much in both summer and monsoon season. As a result the agricultural systems of Bangladesh fall down. So, the price hike occurs. As a result, the standard of living will be down fall. The fish production into the river, water level down, rise the level of ursenic problem.

Overall, the Southern part of our country will be a deseart. This intra river connection project of India is a big question of India- Bangladesh bilateral relationship. Upcoming Tipaimukh Dam: Tipaimuk Dam is a proposed hydroelectric project, to be build on the river Barak in Manipul State India. The project has unilaterally planned to build the dam just 100 km off the Bangladesh border and is likely to affect two major rivers in Bangladesh, namely the Surma and the Kushiara and another 60000 Manipuri people who depend on the river for livelihood and other activities.

The Sinung Indigenous People Human Rights Organization(SIPHRO) of India said that, “ the process of choosing it ( the Project premises) ignored both the indigenous people and the recommendations of the WCD( World Commission on Dams) . Impact of Tipaimuk Dam: – Majority Bangladeshi are in anticipated fear of the probable damagethat may be created if the dam is launced. There is a growing sentim against the dam in Bangladesh. Bangladeshi experts have said the massive dam will disrupts the Seasonal rythem of the river and have an adverse effect on downsteam agriculture and fisheries.

Some adverse effect of Tipaimuk dam over Bangladesh is shown below: * Around 5 crore people of Sylhet and Dhaka division will face problem as Surma and Kushiara will lose five feet water in the rainy season. * Environmental degradation will take place massively, severely affecting water and climate turning wet cooler environment into a hot uncomfortable cauldron. * It raises the regional security risk especially for Bangladesh. Because it is political conflictual region. The Indian government has no control in this region. A great loss will be done by this project, so the Indigenous people are getting reviling day by day. The design of this dam is faulty as a result there is a flood risk foe Bangladesh. The prime risk for this dam is overtopping. * Within 15 years after starting the project and withdraving water from the Barak, there will be no water in the river. * The total agricultural sector of around 20 districts, directly and indirectly will be affected. The Barak- Surma –Kushiara –Meghna river system streatched about 946 km. Around 669 km of this in the Bangladesh portion. If India withdraws water, the fate of this whole river system will be the reatened .

Says Professot Anu Muhammad from the Economics Department in Jahangirnagar University. * Rise of Arsenic problem. * Loss of biodiversity. * Reduce the amount of mineral resources mainly fishes. Raise the risk of earthquake. Tista Barrage: The flow of water on the Teesta has weakened significantly in last 24 years for Gajoldoba barrage and some dams build by India in river’s upper basin. In February and March, it comes down to less than 1000 cubic feet per second from 5000 cubic feet per second in December and January. At times, it shrinks even further, say sources at the Water Development Boards hydrology department.

For instance, they add the amount of water dropped to 370 cusec (cubic feet per second) in February 2007. The water flow in the month tised to be 4000 cusecd at the minimum before India built Gajoldva barrage, some 70 kilometers upstream from Dalia point in Nilphamart in 1985. The dam will kill all common rivers of the country particularly the Meegnha River, the biggest river of the country. Maritime Issue: A leading analyst of India defense has summed up Bangladesh’s position thus: “A threat to Bangladesh will be considered a threat to India, treaty or no treaty, and the main responsibility for ensuring the security f the countries on the shores of Bay of Bengal from the external maritime intervention will be India. As a geographically disadvantaged state, Bangladesh is passing through problem in delimiting sea zones with the neighbors, particularly with India. Because of concave configuration of its cost, Bangladesh suggests equity to be effected for delimitation of maritime boundaries against India. The configuration of the cost of India is convex and as such, it is Favorable for India to delimit the sea zones by equidistance principle.

Indian’s plea is to effect equidistance principle to the delimitation of maritime boundaries with Bangladesh. The fact of boundaries is that what Bangladesh proposes,India disposes, and what India proposes Bangladesh disposes. Fundamentally each country wants to ensure its interests. Finally, Bangladesh raises this issue to the global perspective . The case between Bangladesh and India maritime boundary is now in the permanent Court of Arbriation(PCA) and this case is processing on 8th October 2009 Bangladesh goes to the court of Permanents foe this maritime issue.

On 31st May 2011 Bangladesh submitted a memorial on the same court under Anex -7 in UNCLOS-3 . India will submit their counter memorial within 31st July 2012. After that, Bangladesh will give their answer within January 2013. And ,India will give their rigoener within July 2013. After compleating the tribunal judgement in the mid 2014 , the verdict of this case will declear. A good news for Bangladesh is that, they get a victory over Mayanmar in the same issue. So, it is a plus point for Bangladesh to counter battle with in maritime issue .

South Talpatti Issue: According to International Law Traditionally , an Island if arise in the Territory, it is treated as part of the coastal state. South Talpatti (Bangladeshi name) or New Moon or Purbasha (Indian name) was a small uninhabitated offshore sandbar land from in the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of the Gnges-Brahmaputra Delta region. It emerged in the Bay of Bengal in the after math of Bhola Cyclone in 1970. This small iland is so important for both countries because of the existence of oil and natural gas.

It covers an area of 2500sq meters and only 2 km from the mouth of the Hariabhaga river. The island was claimed by both Bangladesh and India, India had reportedly hoisted the Indian flag on the Island in 1981 and established a temporary base of BSF, regularly visiting with naval gunships. On the other hand,the Bangladeshi government claimed as during Ziaur Rahman’s visit to India in late 1970’s he urged to India for this Island. Last of all , the claim of Bangladesh about the wondership of South Talpatti island is more legal than that India.

It is said that when the Bangladesh visited to go for negotiation through UN . India announced the island submerged. India government said that in March 2012 the island had disappeared and the sea level rise caused by climate change was a factor. Trade Issue: For Bangladesh trade with Indian companies is a very important component of the country’s global trade relations. In recent years, India’s importance as a source of import has registered a significant increase, while Bangladesh’s role as an exporter to India has been further marginalized.

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