India-Bangladesh Relations

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh on 26th and 27th March 2021  to join the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh.

In March 2021, India conferred Gandhi Peace Prize 2020 to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

  • Bangladesh is one of India’s Neighbouring Countries.
  • India shares the longest international border with Bangladesh. The length of the India-Bangladesh Border is 4,096.7 Kms.

Candidates must read this topic for the preparation of the international relations section of the IAS Exam (Mains GS 2).

Information about India’s relations with other nations that are in the news are linked in the table below:

Recommended Video on India-Bangladesh Relations:

Latest Updates in India-Bangladesh Relations

  1. India and Bangladesh marked their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2021.
  2. On Indian PM’s visit to Bangladesh in March 2021, the following MoUs were signed:
    • MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation;
    • MoU between Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) and National Cadet Corps of India (INCC)
    • MoU on Establishment of a Framework of Cooperation in the Area of Trade Remedial Measures between Bangladesh and India;
    • Tripartite MoU on Supply of ICT Equipment, Courseware & Reference Books and Training for Bangladesh-Bharat Digital Service and Employment Training (BDSET) Centre;
    • Tripartite MoU for Establishment of Sports Facilities at Rajshahi College Field and Surrounding Areas.
  3. Both Indian and Bangladesh PMs have inaugurated/unveiled or announced the following:
    • Release of India–Bangladesh Friendship Stamps – to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties
    • A foundation stone for a memorial has been laid at Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria – It is done to honour the Martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives during the Liberation War of 1971.
    • Rooppur Power Evacuation Project foundation stone has been laid – It covers five packages:
      • Amin Bazar – Kaliakoir
      • Rooppur – Dhaka
      • Rooppur – Gopalganj
      • Rooppur – Dhamrai
      • Rooppur – Bogra
    • Three borders haats have been inaugurated:
      • Nalikata (India) – Saydabad (Bangladesh)
      • Ryngku (India) – Bagan Bari (Bangladesh)
      • Bholagunj (India) – Bholagunj (Bangladesh)
    • A passenger train service called ‘Mitali Express’ has been inaugurated. It covers Dhaka-New Jalpaiguri-Dhaka route through Chilahati-Haldibari rail link.
    • The two sides announced to link the historic road between Mujibnagar and Nadia. It will be called Shadhinota Shorok.

India-Bangladesh Summit 2020

The key facts about the India-Bangladesh 2020 Summit are listed below:

  1. Health Sector:
    • On the account of the COVID-19 pandemic, India assured Bangladesh to make available vaccines for the country as and when produced in India, signifying India’s Neighbourhood First Policy.
    • Collaboration in therapeutics and partnership has been proposed by India for COVID-19 vaccine production.
    • India took an initiative to conduct capacity building courses for medical professionals in the Bangla language.
  2. Cultural Sector:
    • India organized events on ‘Mujib Borsho’ which is the birth centenary year of Bangladesh’s founder president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
    • A commemorative postal stamp was jointly unveiled to mark Mujib Borsho.
    • Earlier in September 2020, Bangladesh had issued a stamp in honour of Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
    • Indian Director Shyam Benegal to commence the filming of a biopic on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
    • A proposal from Bangladesh has been initiated to name the historic road from Mujib Nagar to Nodia on the Bangladesh-India border as ‘Shadhinota Shorok.’ The historic significance of the road trails back to Bangladesh’s Liberation War.
  3. Border Management and Security Cooperation
    • Agreement on the conversion of  International Boundary along Kuhsiyara river into a fixed boundary.
    • Agreement on the facilitation of the border fencing completion at all pending sectors across the international border between India and Bangladesh.
    • Emphasis was laid on the full implementation of the ongoing Coordinated Border Management Plan.
    • MoU in the area of disaster management cooperation is yet to be concluded.
    • India has been requested to early implement removing the remaining restrictions on entry/ exit from land ports in India for Bangladeshis travelling on valid documents in a phased manner.
  4. Trade
    • India has given access to Duty-Free and Quota Free Bangladeshi exports to India under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) since 2011.
    • Both sides discussed India’s export-import policy that hampers Bangladesh’s domestic markets as export of essential commodities to Bangladesh hampers its domestic market.
    • A joint study on the prospects of entering into a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is yet to be completed.
    • In the wake of the first-ever meeting of the India-Bangladesh Textile Industry Forum that was held in 2020, an MOU between the Ministry of Textiles (India) and Ministry of Textiles and Jute (Bangladesh) is yet to be agreed upon.
  5. Connectivity
    • The newly restored railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh) was jointly inaugurated by both nations. The train facilities to open with the improvement in COVID-19 situation.
    • India and Bangladesh welcomed the following initiatives:
      • The signing of the second addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT).
      • Trial run of trans-shipment of Indian goods from Kolkata to Agartala via Chattogram.
      • Operationalization of Sonamura-Daudkandi Protocol route under the PIWTT.
    • Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement decided to be operationalised with the early MOUs between India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Bhutan to be given a later date to join.
    • Bangladesh showed interest in joining India Myanmar Thailand trilateral highway project as an aid to enhance connectivity between South and South-East Asia regions.
    • India also requested to allow connectivity from West Bengal to Meghalaya through Bangladesh.
    • To meet the travel needs amid the COVID-19 situation, the two nations had earlier initiated a temporary Air Travel Bubble.
    • Read about Indo-Bangladesh Connectivity and Economic Partnership in the linked article.
  6. Water Resources, Power and Energy
    • An interim agreement for sharing the Teesta Water was discussed where Bangladesh reiterated the need for an early signing of the same.
    • Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar was also discussed.
    • Kushiyara River is also a point of discussion where an MoU for monitoring the withdrawal of water from it is yet to be signed.
    • The expedition of the implementation of the following projects discussed:
      • India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline
      • Maitree Super Thermal Power Project
    • FoU on ‘Cooperation in the Hydrocarbon Sector’ was signed.

Also, read about the Ashuganj Port in the linked article.

In a brief, the following agreements/MOUs are successfully signed between India and Bangladesh:

  • Framework of Understanding (FOU) on Cooperation in Hydrocarbon Sector; Protocol on Trans-boundary Elephant Conservation.
  • MOU regarding Indian Grant Assistance for Implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) through Local Bodies and other Public Sector Institutions.
  • MOU on Supply of Equipment and Improvement of Garbage / Solid Waste Disposal Ground at Lamchori Area for Barishal City Corporation.
  • Terms of Reference of India-Bangladesh CEOs Forum.
  • MoU between Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum, Dhaka, Bangladesh and the National Museum, New Delhi, India.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of Agriculture.

In a brief, the following projects were inaugurated in the India-Bangladesh Summit 2020:

  • Beautification and city development project in Rajshahi City (Bangladesh).
  • Construction of Khalishpur Collegiate Girl’s School in Khulna.

International Issues & India-Bangladesh

  1. Bangladesh supports India’s election to United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  2. Both nations support:
  3. Both nations emphasise the benefits of having international groupings like SAARC and BIMSTEC.
  4. Bangladesh is the chairman of the Indian Ocean Rim Association 2021.

The list of multilateral organizations which India and Bangladesh are both parts of:

India-Bangladesh Bilateral Relations Facts for UPSC

  1. There are 54 common rivers between India and Bangladesh.
  2. India and Bangladesh signed the Ganga Waters Treaty on 12th December 1996 (For 30 years.)
  3. Both the nations established the Joint River Commission (JRC) that came into force in 1972. It works for the common interests and sharing of water resources, irrigation, floods and cyclones control.
  4. As per the data published by the Ministry of External Affairs, India’s exports to Bangladesh in FY 2018-19 stood at US$ 9.21 bn and imports from Bangladesh during the same period were US$1.04 bn.
  5. Some important institutional mechanisms:
    • Joint Rivers Commission (JRC)
    • Joint Economic Commission (JEC) at Ministerial level
    • Foreign Office Consultations
    • Home, Commerce and Water Resources Secretary-level talks
    • BSF-BDR DG-level border coordination conference
    • Joint Working Group on Security (JWG)
    • Joint Boundary Working Group (JBWG)
    • Joint Working Group on Trade (JWG)
    • Joint Group of Customs Officials (JGC)
    • Protocol Renewal Committee and Standing Committee to review the implementation of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade
    • Inter-Governmental Railway Meeting
  6. India-Bangladesh Conflict Zones:
    • Insurgency
    • The flow of migrants across the Bangladesh boundary due to unstable conditions in Bangladesh
    • Water Dispute – Read about Teesta Water Dispute in the linked article.
    • Border Disputes
    • Sharing River Water
  7. India’s Population in Bangladesh

What does India export to Bangladesh?

The major export items to Bangladesh from India are:

  1. Ice
  2. Sugar
  3. Pulse
  4. Onion
  5. Engineering goods
  6. Chemical and pharmaceuticals
  7. Accessories
  8. Cotton
  9. Sugar
  10. Fruits
  11. Onions
  12. Cereals
  13. Vehicles

FAQ about India – Bangladesh Relations

Are India and Bangladesh are signatories of SAFTA?

In 2006, India, along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, signed the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) under the aegis of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC).

Why is Vijay Divas celebrated?

India celebrates Vijay Divas on December 16 every year to commemorate the victory of the Indian Army over the Pakistan Army in the liberation war of Bangladesh (1971).

UPSC General Studies Paper-2 Preparation:

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