In-House Seminar Held on Bangladesh-India Relations

457

The KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA) organized the seminar on “Bangladesh-India Relations” at the CBGA Conference & Dialogue Room on Wednesday, 31st August 2022. M. Ali Siddiquee, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka and Adjunct Research Fellow, CBGA, and Saume Saptaparna Nath, Research Associate, CBGA, were the speakers of the seminar. Introducing the issue of the session, Mr. Aynul Islam, CBGA’s Research Director, and Associate Professor of University of Dhaka moderated the seminar. The seminar was chaired by Professor Dr. Delwar Hossain, Chair, CBGA. The seminar was held on hybrid platforms. It was attended by the CBGA Adjunct Research Fellows, other researchers, and online attendees. The pivot of the seminar highly focused on the strategic, defense, security dimensions, connectivity, trade, and water issues between Bangladesh and India. From historical connotations to the recent currents, Bangladesh and India are inevitably complementary to each other’s foreign policy.

The presentation titled “Bangladesh-India Relations: Strategic, Defense, and Security Dimensions” was delivered by M. Ali Siddique. He accentuated India’s “Neighborhood First Policy” and “Act-East Policy.” To explain strategic cooperation, he discussed regional geopolitical and geostrategic dynamics and institutional frameworks such as BBIN, IORA, SAARC, and BIMSTEC. Bangladesh and India have 25 MoUs where 18 MoUs/agreements are on terrorism, the Bay of Bengal, violent extremism, and insurgency.

Saume Saptaparna Nath began with a principal and two sub-research topics. She raised came with the question of- What’s new in Bangladesh-India relations? To find solutions, the presenter discussed Bangladesh’s importance to India’s policy ambitions. The presenter uses “Neo-Liberalism” to explain energy, water sharing, commerce, and the people-to-people connection between the two nations. She also underlined marine connection, especially Bangladesh’s role in regional and sub-regional maritime connectivity. Her talk centered on SAARC Railway Corridors and BBIN, Kolkata, Mongla, and Sitwae sea linkages. She also provided facts about the Bangladesh-India commercial cooperation, showing that the nation’s trade $16.4 billion bilaterally, with Bangladesh exporting TK11,821 crore and importing TK81,198 crore.

During the open discussion session, the Myanmar factor in the Bangladesh-India relation, border haat, cyber security was discussed in great fruition.

Then, Professor Dr. Delwar Hossain, Chair of the session, gave final remarks. He told that the current trend in international relations are affecting South Asia and Bangladesh-India ties. Dr. Hossain also said there are several factors to consider while analyzing Bangladesh-India relations. Bangladesh and India must understand ‘asymmetry’ and ‘interdependence’ to collaborate. Furthermore, the chair highlighted that Bangladesh-India relations would focus on encouraging collaboration in the framework of “neighborhood,” where we must discuss our common culture, history, and liberation struggle. He mentioned India and Pakistan’s ties, saying India still cherishes Pakistan despite their differences. Bangladesh’s leadership must reflect the country’s change in its foreign policy, especially with India, and make it clear that they are neighbors. He further went on saying Bangladesh-India relations symbolize the future, challenges, and prospects.