Sri Lanka-India-Bangladesh As A South Asian Triumvirate – OpEd – Eurasia Evaluate

Bangladesh-India bilateral relations are a job mannequin on this planet by way of relations amongst neighboring international locations. They’re deep and have advanced over time. India is seen as Bangladesh’s true good friend.  

On December 6, 1971, India granted diplomatic recognition to Bangladesh as an impartial and sovereign nation. The identical day, Bhutan acknowledged Bangladesh. India has stood by Bangladesh because the Liberation Warfare began. It supplied shelter and meals to 1 crore refugees, coaching and arms to the liberty fighters and all help to the Bangladesh government-in-exile. After India’s recognition, Pakistan was shortly defeated in a joint offensive by the Mukti Bahini, the Bengali independence militia, and Indian forces on December 16. The date is essential for Bangladesh. 

This relationship has expanded in many alternative methods in a spirit of friendship, understanding and mutual respect. Beneath the visionary leaderships of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, the 2 international locations have grow to be companions in a “shonali adhyaya” (golden chapter).

Sri Lanka has a particular place in Indian hearts, given the time-tested bonds, going again nearly to the very starting of recorded historical past within the subcontinent. Their relationship is constructed upon the sturdy foundations of a shared cultural and socio-economic heritage and intensive people-to-people interactions over millennia.

India and Sri Lanka take pleasure in a vibrant and rising financial and business partnership, which has witnessed appreciable enlargement through the years.

The entry into drive of the India-Sri Lanka Free Commerce Settlement (ISFTA) in 2000 contributed considerably in direction of the enlargement of commerce between the 2 international locations.

Financial ties between the 2 nations additionally embrace a flourishing growth partnership that encompasses areas akin to infrastructure, connectivity, transportation, housing, well being, livelihood and rehabilitation, training, and industrial growth.


India has historically been amongst Sri Lanka’s largest commerce companions and Sri Lanka stays among the many largest commerce companions of India within the SAARC.

In 2020, India was Sri Lanka’s 2nd largest buying and selling companion with the bilateral merchandise commerce amounting to about USD $ 3.6 billion.

Sri Lankan exports to India have elevated considerably since 2000 when ISLFTA got here into drive and greater than 60% of Sri Lanka’s whole exports to India over the previous few years have used the ISFTA advantages.

Curiously, solely about 5% of India’s whole exports to Sri Lanka prior to now few years have used the ISFTA provisions, thereby indicating their general competitiveness within the Sri Lankan market.

Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have been formally established in 1972 and the Sri Lanka Excessive Fee in Bangladesh was arrange in June 1979.Along with the Mission in Dhaka, an Honorary Consul features from Chittagong. All Sri Lanka Heads of States and Governments since 1979 have made official go to to Bangladesh. 

Constructing on the good conventional friendship the 2 nations are in a position to work intently by means of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Financial Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to unleash nearer cooperation.

The diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have grown from energy to energy over the interval by means of spectacular cooperation in political, financial, cultural, instructional and protection grounds.

Successive Governments in each international locations have leveraged their persistent efforts for enhancing this relationship. What we observe, over the a long time, each neighboring South Asian nations have undergone exceptional overseas coverage adjustments and have immense scope to deepen this multifaceted shut friendship to flourish.

Bangladesh celebrates the start centenary of the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and 50 years of independence. This yr can be the fiftieth yr of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations. On December 6, for the primary time, Bangladesh and India celebrated ‘Friendship Day’ in 16 international locations.

Basis of ties

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Indira Gandhi laid the muse of bilateral relations by means of a 25-year Friendship Treaty in 1972, which his daughter, Sheikh Hasina has consolidated and diversified. Bangladesh has grow to be an vital companion of India resulting from its ‘Neighbours first’ coverage.

After the Treaty of Friendship, a commerce settlement was signed in 1973 and the Mujib-Indira border settlement in 1974. After Mujibur Rahman’s assassination in 1975, social, political, financial and business relations between Bangladesh and India deteriorated. After 21 years, when the Awami League got here to energy, an environment of belief and expectation was created once more.  

This led to the historic Ganges water settlement. After Sheikh Hasina returned to energy in 2009, bilateral relations once more improved. Since Modi took energy in 2014, the 2 Prime Ministers have taken relations to a brand new peak. The seven-year-old enclave change, maritime demarcation and different unresolved points started to be resolved. 

Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her dedication to additional strengthen the mutual ties. The anniversary has given us a chance, she stated, to consider the premise of the bilateral relations and the way in which ahead. Now it’s essential to concentrate on connectivity, commerce, enterprise and communications among the many individuals. 

In a tweet on Friendship Day, Modi stated: “Collectively we’re remembering and celebrating 50 years of friendship. I stay up for persevering with to work with … Sheikh Hasina to broaden and deepen our ties.”

A year-long programme has been chalked out to have a good time the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations. Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibitions are being held in numerous cities of the 2 international locations. The 2 leaders unveiled stamps commemorating Bangladesh-India friendship. Change of visits of veterans of struggle, inspection of ships, sports activities occasions, and cultural and different programmes are being organized.  

Milestone yr 

This yr might be important for Bangladesh and India. Modi visited Dhaka on March 26-27. Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will adorn the closing ceremony of Victory Day. Sheikh Hasina could be the Chief Visitor on India’s Republic Day.  

Revolutionary adjustments have been made within the communication system of the 2 international locations to make the financial system dynamic. Dhaka, Kolkata and Khulna-Kolkata passenger practice providers and rail providers for transporting items from Chilhati in Nilphamari to Haldibari and Dhaka-Siliguri in West Bengal and Dhaka-Kolkata, Dhaka-Agartala, Dhaka-Siliguri-Darjeeling bus providers have been launched. In March, the Prime Ministers inaugurated the Sabroom Bridge over the Feni river, which connects Ramgarh in Khagrachari to Tripura. With the 1.9 km bridge, new enterprise doorways have been opened.  

Beneath the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Commerce (PIWTT) settlement, there are plans to attach the Sonamuri-Daudkandi route of the Gumti river and the waterway from Dhulia-Godagari to Aricha on the Padma. Cargo transportation actions have been began from Chittagong port to Tripura. However some pending points such because the Teesta water-sharing situation and killings on the border ought to be resolved as quickly as potential.  

India will present coaching and technical help to Bangladesh by means of army consultants.  India was the primary nation to offer free vaccines to Bangladesh to battle Covid-19. Amid a scarcity, an Oxygen Specific entered Bangladesh with 180 tonnes of oxygen. 

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had stated on February 8, 1972 in Calcutta: “India-Bangladesh friendship will stay intact endlessly. No energy on this planet can separate it. Often some anti-independence, fundamentalist forces attempt to destroy the relations between the 2 international locations. However their efforts won’t succeed. As a result of the premise of Bangladesh-India pleasant relations is belief and confidence. This relationship is written within the blood by means of the good liberation struggle.” 

Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh can present the world how neighbouring international locations can grow to be all-weather pals.

*Jubeda Chowdhury is a contract author with a Grasp’s Diploma in Worldwide Relations from the College of Dhaka. 

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