Diplomacy in Action: Sheikh Hasina in Modi’s Swearing-In

109

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh visited India on June 8 2024 in connection with attending the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is beginning his third consecutive term. This visit highlights the importance of the strong relationship between India and Bangladesh. Both leaders are committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation, reflecting the historic and strategic partnership between their countries.

The relationship between Bangladesh and India is built on shared history, culture, and values. This bond was solidified during the 1971 Liberation War when India supported Bangladesh’s fight for independence. Since then, the relationship has grown, marked by mutual respect and cooperation in areas such as trade, security, and cultural exchange.

In the last decade, under the leadership of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, the relationship between Bangladesh and India has reached new heights. India is the second largest trading partner of Bangladesh. Efforts to remove trade barriers and improve customs procedures have boosted trade between the two countries. New rail links, bus services, and river routes have been established, enhancing trade and strengthening people-to-people contacts.

India exports electricity to Bangladesh, and both countries collaborate on renewable energy projects, emphasizing sustainable development. The two countries work closely to maintain peace along their border, with successful initiatives to curb terrorism and trafficking. Cultural festivals and exchange programs have nurtured cultural ties. Indian scholarships and training programs for Bangladeshi students have also strengthened educational cooperation.

Bangladesh holds significant importance for India on multiple fronts. Its strategic location is crucial for India’s Act East Policy, which aims to enhance connectivity and cooperation with Southeast Asia. Bangladesh serves as a gateway for India’s northeastern states, facilitating economic and infrastructural development in the region. As a rapidly growing economy, Bangladesh offers vast economic opportunities for Indian businesses. The expansion of trade and investment between the two nations can contribute to economic growth and development on both sides. A stable and prosperous Bangladesh is vital for regional stability. India and Bangladesh share common interests in combating terrorism and maintaining peace in South Asia.

Collaborative efforts in these areas contribute to the security and stability of the region. The shared river systems between India and Bangladesh necessitate cooperation in water resources management. Joint efforts in this area are crucial for sustainable development and the welfare of millions of people dependent on these rivers. The cultural and historical ties between India and Bangladesh form a strong foundation for their relationship. The shared heritage and values foster mutual understanding and respect, which are essential for long-lasting friendship.

An Opportunity of Enhancing India-Bangladesh Ties

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony is more than a ceremonial gesture; it symbolizes the strong bilateral ties and the commitment to further enhancing the partnership. On the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony, an important meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected. This meeting will provide an opportunity to discuss various bilateral issues and explore new areas of cooperation. Prime Minister Hasina’s presence in India underscores the importance of diplomatic engagements at the highest level. Such interactions help in reinforcing mutual trust and understanding between the two nations.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the leaders attending Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in ceremony will include Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, and Seychelles Vice-President Ahmed Afif. The attendance of leaders from other South Asian countries at the swearing-in ceremony highlights the importance of regional cooperation. This platform provides an opportunity for leaders to engage in dialogue and strengthen regional ties. The presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the first distinguished guest to arrive for the ceremony, underscores the special place that Bangladesh holds in India’s foreign policy. It also reflects the personal rapport between the two leaders, which has been instrumental in driving the bilateral relationship forward.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony is a testament to the strong and enduring relationship between India and Bangladesh. The visit symbolizes the shared commitment of both nations to further enhance their bilateral ties and work together for mutual benefit. As India and Bangladesh continue to build on their historic relationship, the future holds immense potential for cooperation and partnership in various fields. The strong personal rapport between the two leaders, combined with the strategic and economic importance of the relationship, sets the stage for a bright future of India-Bangladesh relations.

– Syed Raiyan Amir is a Senior Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).

[Read Full Briefs as a pdf]