Thursday, 8 December, 2022

Bangladesh-India historic relations at a new height

  • Naem Nizam
  • 9th September, 2022 08:30:19 PM
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Bangladesh-India historic relations at a new height
Naem Nizam

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No positive and long-standing results come out from a short-time relationship. This is much more complicated in politics and diplomacy. Only a few countries can maintain a very good relationship with their neighbors. However, the relationship between Bangladesh-India is exceptional. The relationship between these two neighbours stands on a historic milestone.

Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a true friend of Bangladesh. Her contribution to the Liberation War of Bangladesh will be remembered forever. She not only recognised Bangladesh as an independent country on December 6, 1971 but also fought at the United Nations for Bangladesh. She was also active in the battleground. Indira Gandhi had given shelter and provided food to the Bangladeshi refugees. She visited the refugee camps during the war on foot. She wants to know the weal and woe of the Bangladeshi refugees at the camps and stand beside them.

Indira Gandhi had arranged arms and training for the freedom fighters. She helped Bangladesh a lot during the Liberation War. Her positive mind even did not change after the victory of Bangladesh on December 16. She accepted every request of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a true friend.  During his first meeting after the Liberation War, Bangabandhu requested Indira Gandhi to bring back Indian soldiers from independent Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi accepted it immediately. Many Indian diplomats and journalists became astonished seeing Indira Gandhi’s immediate response to Bangabandhu.  But nothing can be better than a true friendship. Indira Gandhi proved this repeatedly in his life. She was a true friend of Bangladesh.

Bangabandhu did not sacrifice anything to any country in the context of just liberated Bangladesh’s rights and self-esteem. Indira Gandhi saw the massiveness of Bangabandhu to the world positively. There was no misunderstanding anywhere. She talked to Bangabandhu with respect. Even there was no negative impression was created between them as Bangabandhu joined the OIC summit. Bangabandhu was also a true friend of India like Indira Gandhi. He maintained positive diplomatic relations with India forever.                 

On February 6, 1972, Bangabandhu was given a gala reception at Kolkata Brigade Parade Ground. In his speech at the reception, Bangabandhu said, “The relation of Bangladesh-India will remain forever. No power of the world can separate this relation.” The main base of this historic relation is our great Liberation War. Mujib-Indira had taken the relationship to a new destination following the liberation of Bangladesh. The first meeting of Mujib-Indira is widely discussed in today’s history. Bangabandhu was given a mass reception after his landing at Delhi Airport on January 10, 1972. Tens of thousands of people thronged Delhi streets to see the great hero of Bangladesh at a glance. Former Indian President   Varahagiri Venkata Giri, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her cabinet members were present at the airport to welcome Bangabandhu. The united way of the two countries had started on that day after a meeting of Mujib-Indira. Mujib at first told Indira to take back the Indian army from Bangladesh and later expressed his gratitude to India for helping Bangladesh’s Liberation War. In Delhi, Bangabandhu said, “The people of Bangladesh will never forget the help of your prime minister, your government, your army, and your people.” 

Bangladeshi people still remember Indira Gandhi with respect. She stood beside the people of Bangladesh after the assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975, to hold the spirit of the Liberation War.  At that time, Indira Gandhi stood beside the two daughters of Bangabandhu. She had given political asylum to the two daughters of Bangabandhu. She had given a job to Dr. Wazed Ali Miah, spouse of Sheikh Hasina. A book written by Dr. Wazed Ali Miah described the incident in detail.

Since the assassination of Bangabandhu, the relationship between Bangladesh and India has had ups and downs at various times. This relationship got a new shape after the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty between Bangladesh and India in 1996. The treaty was signed by the strong diplomatic effort of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She brings back the relationship between the two neighbours in a positive manner after the demise of Bangabandhu. Sheikh Hasina made the relationship bringing some important issues on the frontline which represents the country’s interests. 

Besides Sheikh Hasina, two more persons will have to be remembered for strengthening the Bangladesh-India relationship. They are late Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Former West Bengal’s Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. These two persons are involved with Bangladesh. Pranab Mukherjee’s father-in-law’s home in Bangladesh’s Narail. Bangladeshi people always eye him positively. On the other hand, he was also a real friend of Bangladesh forever. I met Pranab Mukherjee several times. He used to say that the relationship between India-Bangladesh is bonded with blood. This relationship was created during the great Liberation War. This relationship will stay always. He was right. Changing a friend is very common. But changing a neighbour is not possible. The stance of Bangladesh is very important to the world due to its geographical position. Pranab Mukherjee always talked about the respectful evaluation of India-Bangladesh relations. He played an important role to remove the bilateral crisis between the two countries. He never wants to delay resolving the crisis. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has a personal relationship with the family of Pranab Mukherjee. Pranab Mukherjee and his wife both of them had a deep affection for Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana.  Pranab Mukherjee played the role of guardian of Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana after the August 15 carnage.

Jyoti Basu had a similar love for Bangladesh as like as Pranab Mukherjee. He responded to the call of Sheikh Hasina to sign the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty.  Jyoti Basu’s ancestral home is Bardi village under Sonargaon upazila of Narayanganj district in Bangladesh. He always remembers this and used to maintain a very good relationship with Sheikh Hasina.

After the 2001 national elections in Bangladesh, the relationship between Bangladesh-India slightly went down. This relationship got a new dimension later after the assumption of power by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. She brings back the glory of the historic relationship with India by following her father. Bangabandhu had given us liberation and his daughter had given us development and prosperity. Bangladesh is now in a new seat of glory in the world. This success becomes possible due to economic and diplomatic policies taken by Sheikh Hasina. A US diplomat termed Bangladesh a ‘bottomless basket.' Sheikh Hasina responded by strengthening the economy of the country. She has shown the world that Bangladesh can and Bangladesh could. Today countries like the United States are praising the development of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is now a surprise to the whole world. There is only one hero of the growth of GDP during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. She is Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh has achieved a milestone of development led by Sheikh Hasina.

Sheikh Hasina knows the magic to take forward the country by facing hard reality. She has taken the challenge of the economy during the Russia-Ukraine war. Bangladeshi economists said the global economic crisis can’t hit Bangladesh because there is philosophical and steadfast leadership by Sheikh Hasina to tackle the economic challenges. She is taking forward the country through her courageous leadership and will take it in future. She not only enriched the country’s economy but also showed her success in diplomacy. That is why; Sheikh Hasina’s positive diplomacy is being praised worldwide.

Sheikh Hasina’s big success is that she has taken Bangladesh-India relations to a new height. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited Bangladesh several times.  He sat in bilateral meetings with Sheikh Hasina. The Bangladeshi Prime Minister also sat in meetings with Narendra Modi during her India visits. These bilateral meetings are taking forward the relations between the two countries. These meetings have created positive hope among the people of both countries. They think both parties will have to sacrifice to continue the relationship and remove all existing crises. People-to-people contact will have to be increased in both countries.

The long-standing problems and crises between Bangladesh and India will have to be resolved visibly. The confidence will have to be boosted in both countries by resolving all problems. The people of Bangladesh believe that the government of Narendra Modi is in a positive stance like Sheikh Hasina. The relations between the two neighbouring countries will go forward more by Sheikh Hasina's important and meaningful visit to India. It will make a deep bridge in the relationship between Bangladesh and India.


The writer is the Editor of Bangladesh Pratidin