IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 20th Oct 2020
It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs.– Jillian Michaels
EDITORIAL HUNT #197 :“India-Bangladesh Relations 2020 | UPSC”
C Raja Mohan
India-Bangladesh Relations 2020 | UPSC
Bangladesh’s rise is an opportunity for India, but is overshadowed by negative domestic politics
In using Dhaka’s impressive economic performance to attack Delhi’s, India is missing the bigger story about the strategic consequences of Bangladesh’s economic rise.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : International Relations
What are the strategic consequences of Bangladesh’s economic rise. Critically analyse the changing dynamics of Indo-Pacific region -(GS 2)
- Bangladesh Economic Model
- Changing Geo-Politics
- The Economic Uprising
- Reinforcing Ties
- THE IMF REPORT : The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook published last week has triggered much outrage in India.
- THE STIMULATION : The provocation was the IMF’s prediction that Bangladesh’s per capita GDP will overtake that of India this year.
- UNEQUAL RELATIONS : Bangladesh is an important supplier of textiles to America and European nations like Germany.
- INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT : The government has ambitious plans to develop the country further. These include major infrastructure projects such as the construction of a new bridge over the Ganges River.
- LOOKING BEYOND MANUFACTURING : Bangladesh is quickly moving to a high-value, knowledge-intensive society, beyond apparel manufacturing.
- SUSTAINED ECONOMIC GROWTH : First, rapid and sustained economic growth in Bangladesh has begun to alter the world’s mental maps of the subcontinent.
- DEMOGRAPHICAL EXTENT : Bangladesh was never really small; its population today stands at about 160 million. It is demographically the eighth-largest nation in the world.
- A DECADE AGO : Pakistan’s economy was $60 billion larger than Bangladesh. Today, Bangladesh’s weight is bigger than Pakistan by the same margin.
- CURRENCY STRENGTH METER : A US dollar today gets you 85 Bangladeshi taka and 162 Pakistani rupees.
- THE TREND LINE : It is unlikely to change in the near future — for Bangladesh has controlled its population growth and Pakistan has not. Dhaka has a grip over its inflation and Islamabad does not.
- NEGATIVE GEOPOLITICS : There is no question that Pakistan’s negative geopolitical weight in the world will endure, thanks to its muscular foreign policies driven by the army.
- ATOMIC ARSENAL COMPARISON : Bangladesh does not have an atomic arsenal like Pakistan nor does it weaponise violent religious extremism.
THE ECONOMIC UPRISING
- GROWING ECONOMIC MUSCLE : Its growing economic muscle will help Dhaka steadily accumulate geopolitical salience in the years ahead.
- REGIONAL BLENDING : Bangladesh’s economic growth can accelerate regional integration in the eastern subcontinent.
- COLLECTIVE ECONOMIC ADVANCE : Pakistan’s opposition to economic cooperation with India and its support for cross-border terror, the main regional forum for the subcontinent, the SAARC is in a coma.
- PROMOTING REGIONALISM : Instead of merely praying for the revival of SAARC, Delhi could usefully focus on promoting regionalism among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
- INACTIVE FORUM : The BBIN sub-regional forum — involving the four, activated in the middle of last decade — has not advanced fast enough.
- THOUSAND POSSIBILITIES : It is time for Delhi and Dhaka to take a fresh look at the forum and find ways to widen the scope and pace of BBIN activity.
- UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT : The economic success of Bangladesh is drawing attention from a range of countries in East Asia, including China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.
- WIDENING POSSIBILITIES : The US, which traditionally focused on India and Pakistan, has woken up to the possibilities in Bangladesh.
- NEW GEOPOLITICS IN INDO-PACIFIC : The great power wooing of Dhaka is bound to intensify in the new geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific.
- HUGE BOOST : Bangladesh’s economy is now one-and-a-half times as large as that of West Bengal; better integration between the two would provide a huge boost for eastern India.
- CONNECTIVITY : So would connectivity between India’s landlocked Northeast and Bangladesh.
- ECONOMIC TIES : Undoubtedly, there has been some progress in strengthening economic ties and connectivity between eastern India and Bangladesh in recent years.
- STRONG RESISTANCE : This sentiment was reciprocated by the Sharif brothers in Lahore, but crushed by Rawalpindi’s strong resistance.
- POLITICAL ZEAL : In the east, Delhi and Dhaka are eager to promote greater cooperation; but there has been little political enthusiasm in Kolkata.
- MIGRATION AND REFUGEE : In Assam, the issue of migration continues to impose major political constraints.
- DIPLOMACY ISSUES : The very positive dynamic surrounding the bilateral relationship unfortunately, acquired a negative tone amidst the poisonous rhetoric in India around the Citizenship Amendment Act.
- COURSE CORRECTIONS : There is much room for course correction in Delhi and to shift the focus from legacy issues to future possibilities.
India needs to consolidate the golden chapter in India-Bangla relations by jointly developing and pursuing with Dhaka an ambitious framework for shared prosperity.
SOURCES: IE | India-Bangladesh Relations 2020 | UPSC