Modern Diplomacy on BIMSTEC and Bangladesh-India Cooperation: Mutuality and Prospects

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Bangladesh and India share a long border. Apart from that, India also has vulnerability with its Northeast in terms of connectivity with the sea. Bangladesh allowed India to use two of its ports. And the landlocked Northeast can be connected through the Maitri Setu over Feni river which can connect the Tripura to the Bay of Bengal. The Kaladan project is also there to make the connection between the Northeast and the Western regions of India. If Bangladesh can make India think of using Bangladesh’s ports as a refueling hub, it would boost mutual understanding. From the Bangladesh’s point of view, India’s Northeast can be a big market. The Northeast can open further economic prospects by connecting Bangladesh with the South East Asian countries. Bangladesh also needs transit through India to connect with Bhutan and Nepal.

Bangladesh and India have scope to use its growing trade cooperation for BIMSTEC. India’s exports to Bangladesh have climbed at a yearly pace of 8.46 percent over the last 25 years, from $1.04 billion in 1995 to $7.91 billion in 2020. Bangladesh has also achieved a milestone by exporting $1.01 billion to India in 2020. The Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC), Working Group on the Rules of Origin (WG-RoO) and the Working Group on the Dispute Settlement Mechanism (WG-DSM) may help the two countries to remove trade barriers.

Bangladesh is a role model to most of the South Asian countries for its achievement in fighting against terrorism. After the Gulshan’s Holey Artisan incident in 2016 both the countries emphasize countering terrorism in the region. BIMSTEC has also placed terrorism in its top priority.

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