In terms of bordering country relations, Bangladesh-India bilateral ties serve as a paradigm for the rest of the world. They are profound and have developed over time. India is regarded as Bangladesh’s genuine ally. December 6. 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and India, which granted Bangladesh formal recognition – something that the Mujib Nagar Government had been pleading for from the international community to be free of West Pakistan’s misrule.
Bangladesh was given diplomatic recognition as an independent and sovereign republic by India on December 6, 1971. Bhutan also recognised Bangladesh on the same day. Since the start of the Liberation War, India has stood by Bangladesh. It provided one crore refugees with shelter and food, independence fighters with training and arms, and the Bangladesh government-in-exile with all necessary assistance. On December 16, shortly after India’s recognition, Pakistan was destroyed in a joint operation by the Mukti Bahini, a Bengali freedom militia, and Indian soldiers. For Bangladesh as well as India this date is very significant.
In a spirit of camaraderie, understanding, and mutual respect, this connection has grown in a variety of ways. The two countries have become partners in a “shonali adhyaya” under the visionary leadership of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is commemorating the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, as well as 50 years of country’s independence. This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and India. Bangladesh and India celebrated ‘Friendship Day’ in 16 nations for the first time on December 6.
In 1972, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi established a 25-year Friendship Treaty, which his daughter, Sheikh Hasina, has helped to strengthen and diversify bilateral relations. Because of its “neighbours first” approach, Bangladesh has grown into an essential partner for India.
A commercial deal and the Mujib-Indira border accord were inked after the Treaty of Friendship in 1973 and 1974, respectively. Bangladesh-India ties deteriorated after Mujibur Rahman’s killing in 1975. When the Awami League came to power after 21 years, a climate of trust and expectation was once again established.
As a result, the historic Ganges water agreement was reached. Bilateral ties strengthened again after Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009. The two Prime Ministers have taken their relationship to new heights since Modi came to power in 2014. The seven-year-old enclave exchange, maritime demarcation, and other unsolved issues started to be addressed.
Sheikh Hasina has reaffirmed her commitment to bolstering bilateral ties. The anniversary has given us an opportunity to reflect on the foundations of bilateral ties and the path forward, she said. Now is the time to concentrate on people-to-people networking, trade, business, and communication.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, a year-long celebration has been planned. Digital exhibitions of Bangabandhu-Bapu are being presented in cities across the two countries. The two leaders released stamps honouring the friendship between Bangladesh and India. Visits by veterans of war, ships are being inspected, sporting activities are being held, and cultural and other programmes are being planned.
Bangladesh and India will have an important year this year. On March 26-27, Modi paid a visit to Dhaka. The ending ceremony of Victory Day will be decorated by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind. On India’s Republic Day, Sheikh Hasina might be the Chief Guest.
To make the economies of the two countries more dynamic, revolutionary modifications have been made to their communication systems. Passenger train services between Dhaka, Kolkata, and Khulna-Kolkata, as well as rail services for transporting goods between Chilhati in Nilphamari and Haldibari and Dhaka-Siliguri in West Bengal, as well as Dhaka-Kolkata, Dhaka-Agartala, and Dhaka-Siliguri-Darjeeling bus services have been introduced. The Sabroom Bridge, which connects Ramgarh in Khagrachari and Tripura, was inaugurated by the Prime Ministers in March. The 1.9-kilometre bridge has offered up new economic opportunities.
There are plans to connect the Gumti river’s Sonamuri-Daudkandi route and the Padma’s Dhulia-Godagari-Aricha canal under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) accord. Cargo transportation services between Chittagong and Tripura have begun. However, some unresolved concerns, including the Teesta water-sharing dispute and border killings, should be addressed as quickly as feasible. Military experts from India would help Bangladesh with training and technical assistance. To combat Covid-19, India was the first country to supply free vaccines to Bangladesh. An Oxygen Express arrived in Bangladesh carrying 180 tonnes of oxygen in the midst of a crisis.
The bond between India and Bangladesh will last forever. It can’t be separated by any forces in the world. Some anti-independence, fundamentalist elements have attempted to sever ties between the two countries on occasion. Their attempts, however, will be in vain. Because trust and confidence are the foundations of cordial relations between Bangladesh and India.
The great liberation fight has written this bond in blood. India and Bangladesh can demonstrate to the rest of the world how neighbours may become all-weather friends.
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