Though Bangladesh has met all the demands made by India the leaders of the big country is yet to deliver on its promises, settle long-standing issues and disputes. Top brass Indian leaders held a meeting in August in 2010 on Bangladeshi demands made to Indian finance minister Pranab Mukharjee during his shortest possible visit to Bangladesh in recent times. But at the fag end of 2011 nothing is done visible to the peoples of the neighbouring countries. Chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the Delhi meeting was attended among other high ups by foreign mininster SM Krishna, national security advisor Shibsankar Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, principal secretary to Prime Minister TK Nayer. The meet zeroed in on the projects taken for Bangladesh.
Pranab Mukharjee informed the Prime Minister of the Bangladesh’s grievances over the Indian bureaucratic dillydally in the projects. Prime Minister asked the bureaucrats to take steps.
During the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India Delhi promised some projects for Bangladesh. But Dhaka complained of the foot dragging by the Indian secretaries. Once again flouting Dhaka’s observation foreign minister stood by the Indian bureaucrats and claimed that none of the projects were stalled and even bragged of initiating talks on sharing Teesta water. Delhi will initiate Joint River Commission meet after Ramadan. Branding some of the Indian promises political Krishna said it will take time. Some political analysts observe that India might have initiate some low profile projects though it will follow ‘go-slow’ policy in materialising Teesta water sharing, Nepal-Bangladesh transit and other important issues.
Either Dhaka is right or Delhi. Not both of them. If Indian bureaucrats and foreign minister SM Krishna are right, Pranab has raised, we think, Dhaka’s ‘unjustified’ complains in the Delhi meet. If Krishna is right then Bangladesh has no bilateral problems with India. If Indian bureaucrats are right, tariff and non-tarrif barriers on Bangladesh’s products are fictitious story told by the businesses here in Dhaka. And there is no trade imbalance between these two countries. Then we have reasons to believe there is no Farrakka barrage which Indian govt promised to test operate only for seven days in 1974.
If Indian hegemony is right Bangladeshis are not being killed by BSF.
Certainly Bangladesh has done a lot and probably given everything what the bargaining chips –transit, connectivity, corridor, Chittagong sea port, Mongla sea port, Ashuganj river port, market even the country has handed over the Indian insurgents (the lone substantiated objection it raised against Dhaka) –it had to improve the bilateral relations with India and now the big economy should act. The above observation is substantiated by Indian newspapers. We are afraid Dhaka is again going to be befooled by Indian promises and fall prey to the country’s aspirational diplomacy as it was. In the case of trade imbalance we would surely urge China to import more and more from Bangladesh as the balance is heavily tilted to it and Indians may point finger at the trade imbalance in favour of China. The trade gap must be reduced by both China and India.