In a statement after holding bilateral talks with her Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina termed India as Bangladesh’s ‘most important and closest neighbour’. Her statement succinctly defines the nature of the relationship that exists between Bangladesh and India. Sheikh Hasina further said that Bangladesh-India ties are anchored in shared history and culture, mutual trust and respect, longstanding friendship and continued cooperation. On the other hand, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Bangladesh as India’s ‘largest development partner and the largest trade partner in the region’. His statement shows the extent of Bangladesh-India trade and cooperation that grew over the period since the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country in 1971.
Actually, their statements contain all the essential elements that constitute the basis of excellent diplomatic relations between different countries. It is not without reasons that relations between these two common border neighbours have reached the level of being the ‘role model of neighbourhood diplomacy’ as termed by Hasina. The countries in the South-Asian regions have relationships of diverse forms and nature but none of them is at par with that between Bangladesh and India.
However, despite these achievements, much to the disappointment of the people of Bangladesh, the vital issue of the Teesta water sharing remains unresolved. Bangladesh repeatedly raised the issue but nothing tangible could be achieved so far in this regard. Getting legitimate share of the Teesta water is a life-and-death question for the people of Bangladesh. The solution of the issue would also help take Bangladesh-India relationship to the best possible level. All the people of Bangladesh ask India in a single voice to resolve this most vital issue as soon as possible.