As a new waterway was added to the network between India and Bangladesh, let us look at the shared history of both the nations.
Crux of the Matter
History Of India-Bangladesh
- Bengal was divided into 2 post-Indian-Independence:
West Bengal: Remained part of India
East Bengal: Under the control of Pakistan – named East Pakistan.
- Liberation war started in East Pakistan in early 1971, and leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence from Pakistan.
- Pakistan (West) launched airstrikes on Indian airbases as India announced support for Bangladesh.
- In return, India attacked Pakistan and provided military support to Bangladesh; Pakistan surrendered and the nation of Bangladesh was stabilized.
- Pranab Mukherjee, former Indian President who recently passed away, received the ‘Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona’ (Liberation War award) in 2013 by the Bangladesh Govt for his contribution to the 1971 liberation war.
- 1975: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, was assassinated, after which Bangladesh went under military rule. The period saw increase in hostility towards India as the country developed stronger ties with Pakistan.
- 1979: Assam movement started against the increasing number of refugees from Bangladesh in Assam.
- 1996: Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, became the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, after which relations with India improved.
- The ‘Ganges Water Sharing Treaty’ was signed between both countries in the same year to alleviate problems concerning water in the former.
- 2011: Tin Bigha Corridor was declared 24 hours open in an agreement between the 2 countries. It allowed free movement to people from the enclaves (regions of the country completely surrounded by the other country).
- 2013: India started electricity supply to Bangladesh, initially supplying 500 MW.
- 2015: 50,000 people living in enclaves were granted citizenship of either India or Bangladesh in an agreement.
- 2018: India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline was inaugurated, which would supply 250,000 metric tonne diesel per year to the latter initially.
- 2019: Bangladesh declared CAA & NRC internal matters of India. However, several cancelled visits from Bangladesh highlighted strain over the issue with India.
- Concerns over the increasing influence of China have been expressed in recent times. While India and Bangladesh had a total trade worth $10.2 billion in 2019, China has become the largest investor in Bangladesh, recording a total investment of $38 billion (2019).
- The Teen Bigha Corridor is a strip of land belonging to India on the West Bengal – Bangladesh border. In September 2011, the corridor was leased to Bangladesh so the country could access its Dahagram–Angarpota enclave from the mainland.
- The India–Bangladesh enclaves, also known as the chiṭmahals were the enclaves along the Bangladesh–India border. According to a popular legend, the enclaves were used as stakes in card or chess games centuries ago between two regional kings, the Raja of Koch Bihar and the Maharaja of Rangpur.
- The Banga Sena is a separatist Hindu organization which advocates formation of a separate homeland for Bengali Hindus in Bangladesh. The group is led by Kalidas Baidya.
- The Economic Times – Bangladesh gives traders special permission for hilsa export to India
- India Today – PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina inaugurate India-Bangladesh oil pipeline construction
- Moneycontrol – Agartala-Akhaura rail link in September 2021
- BBC – Bangladesh profile – Timeline
- Business Standard – 1971 war: The story of India’s victory, Pak’s surrender, Bangladesh freedom
- The Diplomat – How Bangladesh Learned to Love the Belt and Road