Although the final Lok Sabha election results were not completely out while filing this column, it was all but certain that BJP-led NDA was set to sweep Lok Sabha polls with over 300 seats in the world’s largest elections. If the leads sustain, it will be a stunning mandate for Narendra Modi.
The people of Bangladesh ranging from politicians, think tanks and policymakers to the common masses are very much curious about the election results in the closest neighbouring country; they are concerned about whether a regime change there would any way affect the bilateral relations between these two time-tested friendly nations. However, if past records are anything to be reckoned with, whichever party assumes Delhi’s throne forming the new government based on people’s verdict, it is unlikely to affect bilateral relations with Bangladesh, because maintaining continuity is one of the core values of India’s foreign policy. For example, when the Congress lost in Lok Sobha Elections 2014, there was widespread apprehension about the future of Dhaka-Delhi ties. But, soon after assuming the power, the Narendra Modi government dispelled all the speculations and maintained a friendly relation with Bangladesh in line with the policies followed by previous governments.Moreover, over the last 10 years the Dhaka-Delhi ties solidified to such an extent that now it will be even difficult to damage it. A deep and mutually beneficial relationship rooted in history, tradition and culture, and people to people connections cannot be changed overnight; it will rather continue to prosper.
However, it is natural that policy difference may creep up from time to time between two friendly countries, but the door is always open for discussion. Bangladesh will keep an eye on what the new government in India will do with regards to the NRC issue in Assam. Although it is an internal matter of India, the way some politicians retorted regarding the matter in election campaign caused many Bangladeshis to raise eyebrow. Similarly, the mood in Bangladesh is gloomy as per as India’s stance on Rohingya issue is concerned. We hope the new government of India will address these issues keeping concerns of Bangladesh in mind.