‘Modi’s 2nd term will boost entente cordiale with Dhaka’

Ranjan Basu, Delhi
Published : 07:00, May 29, 2019 | Updated : 12:58, May 29, 2019

India`s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah wave toward their supporters at a public meeting in Ahmedabad, India, May 26, 2019. REUTERSAfter Modi was elected in India by a landslide, the first call from outside India was from Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina. This shows the depth of the relation between the two countries.
About four months ago, when Sheikh Hasina was re-elected, the first call was from Indian premier Narendra Modi on Jan 31 morning.
To get an idea about Bangladesh-India relations after Modi’s recent election victory, Bangla Tribune talked to two leading specialists — former Indian foreign secretary Muchkundu Dubey and senior fellow of think tank Vivekanda International Foundation Sriradha Dutt.
Almost all political commentators of both countries are unanimous that Bangladesh and India are passing through a period of entente cordiale.
Dubey, who also served as the Indian envoy in Dhaka, has marveled at the chemistry between Hasina and Modi.
Senior fellow of think tank Vivekanda International Foundation Sriradha DuttIn the past, Bangladesh did not admit to the presence of Indian separatists in Bangladesh but after Hasina came to power, these elements were apprehended and handed over to India.
Sriradha Dutt adds: “When Modi first came to power, a sense of unease was created about the prospects of bilateral relations but the fear was swiftly cast aside.”
After Modi came to power, land border agreement was signed and now the two-way trade is over $8 billion.
India has invested billions in big infrastructure projects in Bangladesh. After the recent militant attack in Sri Lanka, the two countries will become closer in matters related to security.
Former Indian foreign secretary Muchkundu DubeyBut in the Indian elections, BJP used the Hindutva card openly. BJP president Amit Shah had earlier used pejorative language to refer to illegal Bangladeshis residing on Indian soil.
What will be the impact of such prejudiced rhetoric with BJP back in power?
Dubey says that if Muslims are under attack in India then the same will be faced by Hindus in Bangladesh, which will destabilise both the nations; so, to maintain solid relations and overall peace, safety has to be ensured for minorities.
Dutta calls the belligerent lines by Amit Shah as electoral rhetoric, made solely to collect votes.
Regarding the contentious issue of the Teesta water sharing agreement, Dubey observes: “BJP will try to take over the province of West Bengal but if the people of the region are against Teesta water sharing then BJP won’t go against the desire of the people.”