As India and Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Sheikh Hasina embark on chartering a new course in bilateral relations, this year also marks the golden jubilee of diplomatic ties between the two neighbours. Modi, who is set to be part of the celebrations marking 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence has underlined the importance the South Asian nations holds in India’s foreign affairs.
Importantly, this is Modi’s first foreign visit in the post Covid era.
Bangladesh Parliament tweeted an article published by Bangladesh Awami League stating, “We have had many who stood by us in 1971, but India stands out most brightly in that list. It was India that prevented the list of Bangladeshi Martyrs from growing longer by sheltering more than ten million of us in India and they helped curtail our bloody journey towards freedom by training and arming our Muktojoddhas and regular forces.”
The twitter handle also said that “it is only during this #[email protected] era, that this relationship has turned around and is flourishing in multiple dimensions as we witnessed the same during Mujib-Indira ties, back in 1972-75.”
It is only during this #SheikhHasina–@narendramodi era, that this relationship has turned around and is flourishing in multiple dimensions as we witnesses the same during Mujib-Indira ties, back in 1972-75. Read the oped 👉 https://t.co/fxIXTZUZKQ #Bangladesh50 🇧🇩🤝🇮🇳
— Bangladesh Parliament -জাতীয় সংসদ (@jatiyoshangsad) March 22, 2021
The article also mentioned that while heads of governments from other nations such as Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka too are visiting Bangladesh to join the celebrations, “the nation that is not welcome in Pakistan.” “We simply can’t compromise with the blood of our Martyrs, we cannot be betrayers,” it said, adding that it is time to designate a day in the year — possibly December 6 — as Bangladesh India Friendship Day.
On this day, in 1971, India was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign nation.
India and Bangladesh share around 4,100 Km long international border. While about 1,880 Kilometre is along the north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram, the rest is with West Bengal.
Political commentator Sandip Ghose told India Narrative that both leaders – Modi and Hasina should prize open the huge potential viewing the region as an integrated economic and geographic entity.
The two countries are already working on strengthening connectivity and expanding trade relations.
“An environment of trust and camaderie must be built between the two countries and one of the ways is to further expand bilateral trade both locally across the border region through border haats and also at a macro level,” Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) earlier told India Narrative.
Meanwhile, India’s largest outbound shipment of Covid 19 vaccine has been to Bangladesh. The south Asian country received 90 lakh doses of Covid 19 vaccine from New Delhi.
Bangladesh, home to 16 crore people, received its first consignment of the vaccines on March 25.
Besides, in a rare occasion, New Delhi also sent a special Indian Air Force carrier just ahead of the Republic Day celebrations to fly in a 122 member tri-service contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The contingent took part in the Republic Day parade marking the spirit of military co-operation and underlining the narrative, “Together we fought, together we march.”