New Delhi [India], March 20 (ANI): As Bangladesh celebrates 50 years of independence, its relationship with India, born in blood, remains special, as both countries have bled side by side in the 1971 Liberation War.
Compelled to feed and shelter ten million-plus people crossing over in the wake of a civil war in the then East Pakistan, India launched a diplomatic campaign among the world community about the violence and bloodshed in East Pakistan and its own economic woes about having to deal with such a large migration, writes Fabien Baussart for Modern Diplomacy.
When attack, India finally responded militarily and on December 16, 1971, over 93,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the joint command of India and the newly-born Bangladesh.
To consolidate the special India-Bangladesh relationship, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Dhaka in response to an invitation from his counterpart Sheikh Hasina, who has never missed an opportunity to thank India for feeding her people, on March 25 and 26.
Both sides are working swiftly to forge communication ties that would facilitate movement, trade and a host of projects for mutual benefits. India has already helped build five major infrastructure projects, the latest being "friendship bridge" on Feni river on March 9 by PM Modi to facilitate trade between northeast India and Bangladesh.
Modi underscored the connectivity in the region at the bridge's opening ceremony: "This will improve the connectivity of south Assam, Mizoram, and Manipur along with Tripura with Bangladesh and Southeast Asia."
Bangladesh is India's gateway to the east - its own north-eastern region as well as Southeast Asia. It is the key to India's "Act East Policy", writes Modern Diplomacy.
India has the longest border with Bangladesh at 4,300 km. Despite encountering problems such as the smuggling of humans, cattle and goods, the two nations have learned to resolve them substantially and tackle a 'live' border inhabited by millions.
Much of the backlog regarding security of borders and combating Islamists and sundry tribal groups has been sorted out by the Hasina-led government. The last decade has also seen noteworthy economic development in Bangladesh, enough to make employment-related movements less and less compulsive.
Economic equations are becoming increasingly comfortable as Bangladesh makes rapid economic strides and logs impressive achievements on some of the best development indicators in the region, writes Baussart for Modern Diplomacy.
However, the growing Chinese presence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region is making some difference.
PM Modi had last visited Bangladesh in 2015.
During the visit in March this year, the Prime Minister will attend the National Day programme of Bangladesh on March 26 as the guest of honour.
Apart from holding bilateral consultations with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, PM Modi will call on Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid. (ANI)