The Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in December 2015, announced that ‘two submarines would be added to Bangladesh Navy by the middle of the next year’, i.e., 20161. The Prime Minister was speaking at the passing out parade of midshipmen at the Bangladesh Naval Academy at Chittagong. She also added that setting up of a submarine base and associated infrastructure was underway. News of this submarine deal with China has been reported since 2013 with delivery expected by 2015.
Recent months have seen Pakistan and Bangladesh expelling each other’s diplomats and ‘summoning’ each other’s envoys to lodge ‘strong’ protests. The expulsions and ‘summoning’ are just the tip of the iceberg, reflective of a deeper malaise that has bedevilled the relations between the two countries.
Bangladesh’s tryst with democracy began a new chapter in the nation’s history when the newly independent nation adopted its first Constitution in 1972 with the tenets of nationalism, democracy, socialism and secularism. The then political environment of the country was possibly not conducive to these principles of democracy as it had just witnessed the vicissitudes of political assassinations followed by an extended period of ‘junta rule’ that lasted for nearly two decades. Nevertheless, the aspiration for democracy encouraged Bangladesh to reinstate a Parliamentary form of democracy in 1991.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an extremely successful 2-day visit to Bangladesh on June 6&7 2015 that was not only a high profile bilateral visit but was equally rich in substantive content and deliverable out come. As mentioned in our pre-visit curtain raiser posted a few days before the visit, it was part of PM Modi’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ out reach initiative that has already taken him to Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles. China too has been visited by Modi and now only Pakistan is left out. But that is a different story.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, in an interview on the eve of his visit had likened the unanimous ratification of the LBA and its Protocol by the Indian Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha to the fall of the Berlin Wall. How relevant is this analogy? The Berlin Wall, constructed in 1961 was not just a wall that encaged West Berlin within the then East Germany but also cut off the city from West Germany, and represented in an iconic manner the East-West divide in Europe.
Prime Minister Modi, as part of his continuing neighbourhood outreach agenda that began with his visit to Bhutan followed by visits to Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Seychelles, will be paying a two-day visit to Bangladesh from June 6 to 7, 2015. Unlike other neighbours mentioned above, the visit to Bangladesh by PM Modi will not be ‘after a long gap’ since his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh had done so in September 2011. Unfortunately, Dr.
Bangladesh-India Land Boundary Agreement 1974 and Protocol thereunder of 2011 Some personal insights
The unanimity with which the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha finally, on May 6 and 7 respectively this year, passed the Bangladesh-India Land Boundary Agreement, 1974 and the Protocol thereunder of 2011 was indeed a historic, game-changing development in the tortuous post-Partition annals of this fragmented sub-continent. It finally put to rest some of the demons released by the Radcliffe Award that drew the lines across the map partitioning the historic geo-political configuration that used to be India until August 14, 1947.
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