Bangladesh-India relations are the bilateral relations between the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Republic of India, both of which are South Asian neighbours.
Three sides of Bangladesh’s land border are shared with India, and one side runs along the Bay of Bengal. India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours.
India and Bangladesh are not just neighbours, but are bound by an umbilical connection of ethnicity and kinship. India attaches highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh because of our shared history, heritage, culture, language, physical proximity and passion for music, literature and arts. Also, Rabindranath Tagore, created the National Anthems of both India and Bangladesh. The two nations can together play a significant role for the development and prosperity of the entire subcontinent and beyond.
The edifice of this unique relationship between the two neighbouring nations is based on the unwavering faith in democratic values, principles of liberalism, egalitarianism, secularism and respect for each other’s sovereignty and integrity.
The cordial relation is reflected through multidimensional and expanding relations between the two countries. In the last four decades, the two countries have continued to consolidate their relations, and have built a comprehensive institutional framework to promote bilateral cooperation in all areas.
India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state. India established diplomatic relations with Bangladesh immediately after its independence in December 1971. Bangladesh and India are common members of SAARC, BIMSTEC, IORA and the Commonwealth.
The relations between the two countries have been characterised as a special relationship although some disputes remain unresolved. The historic land boundary agreement was signed on 6 June 2015 which settled decades old border disputes, while negotiations are still ongoing over the sharing of water of the transboundary rivers. In recent years, Bangladesh has seen rising anti-India sentiments among its citizens due to the Indian government’s perceived anti-Muslim and anti-Bangladeshi activities like India’s interference in Bangladeshi politics, killings of Bangladeshis by Indian BSF, Citizenship Amendment Act, rise of Hindutva in India as well as India’s reluctance in solving the water disputes in common rivers with Bangladesh.
Areas of Cooperation b/w India-Bangladesh
The independence of Bangladesh unfolded an environment of cordial relations between Bangladesh and India. India’s humanitarian, moral, diplomatic and military assistance played a crucial role in the liberation of Bangladesh. Bang Bandhu (Sheikh Mujeeb ur Rehman) had openly acknowledged that “Friendship with India is a cornerstone of Bangladesh foreign policy”.
Security and Border Management
A number of agreements related to security cooperation have been signed between both the countries. These include a coordinated Border Management plan signed in 2011 to synergize the efforts of both border guarding forces for effective control over cross-border illegal activities and crimes.
The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification during Hon’ble PM’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. Under this agreement, the enclaves of India and Bangladesh in each other’s countries were exchanged and strip maps were signed. The agreement will help better border management and controlling the problem of trafficking, illegal movement, etc.
The settlement of the maritime boundary arbitration between India and Bangladesh, as per UNCLOS award on July 7, 2014, paved the way for the economic development of this part of the Bay of Bengal, and will be beneficial to both countries.
India and Bangladesh instituted a Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) as an annual feature between the two Navies. The first edition was inaugurated from June 24 to 29 (2018). It is a major step towards enhanced operational interaction between both Navies.
Sharing of River Water
India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers where Bangladesh is the lower riparian country. As a lower riparian country, Bangladesh remains at risk from the impacts of rivers from India. However, India does share seasonal water flow and rainfall data to aid Bangladesh with flood forecasting.
A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) has been functioning since November 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems. The Ganges Waters Treaty signed in 1996 for the sharing of waters of the River Ganges during the lean season has also worked satisfactorily.
India-Bangladesh trade has grown steadily over the last few years. The current dynamics of the relationship are very positive. Currently, the volume of bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh is about $ 9.3 billion (2017-18), representing more than three times the value of $ 2.67 billion a decade ago. India and Bangladesh are looking at strengthening economic cooperation through joint investments and cooperation under the ‘Blue Economy’ programme which entails synergised efforts of littoral states in the exploration of hydrocarbons, marine resources, deep-sea fishing, preservation of marine ecology and disaster management.
Trade and Duty Concessions
- India’s exports to Bangladesh in 2017-18 were around US $ 8.4 billion, and imports from Bangladesh during the same period were around US $ 900 million.
- Substantial duty concessions have been extended to Bangladesh under SAFTA, SAPTA and APTA.
- India has provided duty free, quota free access to Bangladesh (and other SAARC LDCs) on all tariff lines except on the items in sensitive list (for example, Tobacco and Alcohol) under SAFTA since 2011.
- Four Border Haats, two each in Tripura and Meghalaya, have been established for the benefit of communities along the border.
- Total Indian investments in Bangladesh are US$ 3.11 billion and are on an upward trajectory. Indian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh reached US$ 88.0 million in 2015-16.
- During PM Hasina’s visit in April 2017, Indian private sector signed agreements that will result in investment of over US$ 9 billion in Bangladesh.
India’s Economic Assistance to Bangladesh
- During the visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to India in January 2010, India announced a US$1 billion Line of Credit (LOC) for Bangladesh covering projects in public transportation, roads, railways, bridges and inland waterways. Most of these projects have been completed, and the remaining are at various stages of completion.
- India announced a new Line of Credit of US $ 2 billion during his visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. This Line of Credit will cover projects in the areas of Roads, Railways, Power, Shipping, SEZs, Health & Medical Care, and Technical Education.
- In April 2017, India announced $5 billion credit to Bangladesh out of which $4.5 billion will be used for implementation of developmental project and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment from New Delhi.
- In addition to LOC funds, Government of India also provides grant assistance to Bangladesh for projects under ‘Aid to Bangladesh’. Projects such as construction of school/college buildings, laboratories, dispensaries, deep tube wells, community centres, renovation of historical monuments/buildings, etc. have been financed by Government of India under this programme. At present, three Sustainable Development Projects (SDPs) are being undertaken in the cities of Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet.
Cooperation in Power and Energy Sector
Co-operation in power has become one of the hallmarks of India-Bangladesh relation.
- Power is transferred from India to Bangladesh via Berhampore-Bheramara interconnection and Suraj Mani Nagar-Comilla interconnection.
- India, Russia and Bangladesh signed pact for construction of Rooppur atomic plant in Bangladesh. India also extended support for capacity building and has been training Bangladeshi nuclear scientists for the project.
- In March, 2016 the two Prime Ministers inaugurated export of Internet bandwidth to Tripura from Bangladesh and the export of power from Tripura to Comilla.
- The 1320 MW coal-fired Maitree thermal power plant, a 50:50 JV between National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) is being developed at Rampal.
- Many Indian public sector units such as Indian Oil Corporation, Numaligarh Refinery Limited, Gas Authority of India Limited, Petronet LNG Ltd are working with their Bangladeshi counterparts in the oil and gas sector of Bangladesh.
- ONGC Videsh Ltd has acquired two shallow water blocks in Bangladesh in 50-50 consortium with Oil India Limited, and is currently involved in exploration activities in these blocks.
- In September 2018, the construction of a 130 km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project which will connect Siliguri in West Bengal in India and Parbatipur in Dinajpur district of Bangladesh was jointly inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
India-Bangladesh has connectivity through all modes of transport. The movement of goods by road is operationalised through 36 functional Land Customs Stations (LCSs) and 2 Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) along the border.
- Around 50% of the bilateral trade takes place through the Petrapole-Benapole ICP on account of which it has been decided to operate these land ports on 24×7 basis since August 2017.
- The Protocol on Inland Water Trade and Transit (PIWTT) has been operational since 1972. It permits movement of goods over barges/vessels through the river systems of Bangladesh on eight specific routes.
- Connectivity through the Coastal Waterways enabled by the signing of the Coastal Shipping Agreement is also of priority to both India and Bangladesh. It has enabled direct sea movement of containerized/bulk/ dry cargo between the two countries.
- Passenger train service ‘Maitree Express’ between Kolkata and Dhaka now operates 4 days a week and has now been converted into a fully AC train service.
- There are regular flights between India and Bangladesh connecting Dhaka and Chittagong with New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
- The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) – Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) will significantly boost connectivity by road. The trial Run of Cargo Movement on Trucks from Kolkata to Agartala via Dhaka, and Dhaka to New Delhi via Kolkata and Lucknow has been conducted in August 2016. There are regular bus services between Kolkata-Dhaka, Shillong-Dhaka, and Agartala-Kolkata via Dhaka.
- Bangladesh is an important ITEC partner country, and a large number of participants from Bangladesh have availed training courses under the ITEC programme.
- In addition, a number of training courses are underway for interested Bangladeshi officials/ nationals including personnel of administration, police, border guarding forces, military, narcotic control officers, teachers, etc.
- The High Commission of India has been publishing a print and electronic edition of Bengali literary monthly magazine ‘Bharat Bichitra’ for the last 43 years. The magazine is considered one of the best of its kind in Bangladesh and has a wide readership among all sections of society.
- The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre holds regular training courses in Yoga, Hindi, Hindustani Classical Music , Manipuri Dance, Kathak and Painting. The courses are popular with Bangladeshi students.
- The Indian Prime Minister in 2017 also announced three new schemes for ‘muktijoddhas additional 10,000 scholarship slots for children of freedom fighters, five year multiple-entry visas and medical treatment in India for 100 Bangladeshi veterans of independence struggle.
- Russia is constructing Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur, for which India has been training Bangladeshi nuclear scientists for the last two years.
Significance of Bangladesh to India
The geographical location of a country occupies a significant position while taking a foreign policy decision. Geopolitical location of Bangladesh gives it both strength and weakness from different perspectives. India, by virtue of its population, size, military and economic might is a formidable player in the South Asia. Rising Chinese influence in the subcontinent and in the Indian Ocean region is detrimental to the national interest of India.
Strategic Importance of Bangladesh
- Security: India and Bangladesh share a border of 4156 km, a large part of which are unfenced. Human and Drug Trafficking, FICN (Fake Indian Currency Notes), smuggling of cattle, terrorism etc are major concerns to India. Cooperation of Bangladesh is therefore important for the security of India, especially states that border Bangladesh.
- Consolidating Sphere of Influence in the Indian Ocean: Growing influence of China in the region and Bangladesh’s acceptance of One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiatives of China may lead to dominance of China in the region. A neutral Bangladesh is therefore vital for countering assertive China and keeping sea lanes of communication in Bay of Bengal secure.
- Connectivity to North East India: North East of India is connected through a narrow strip called Siliguri Corridor or Chicken Neck. Connectivity to North East is important for security and development of the region. Bangladesh which shares border with many North Eastern States can help in improving connectivity and bringing development to the region. Bangladesh and India, (through various ongoing initiatives such as the trans-shipment of Indian goods through Bangladesh’s Ashuganj port to Northeast India, expansion of rail links within Northeast India and between the two countries, and the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement can dramatically reduce the cost of transport between Northeast India and the rest of India.
- Act East Policy: Deepening connectivity and economic linkages between India and Bangladesh will be critical for the success of India’s ‘Act East’ policy. As Prime Minister of India has said, ‘India’s Act East Policy starts with Bangladesh’.
- Insurgency and Terrorism: Over the past few years, the Bangladeshi security agencies have arrested top leaders of the insurgent groups banned in India, especially those active in the Northeast. The proactive action and cooperation of Bangladesh government is vital for the security of adjoining States especially North Eastern States. There have been the evidences of influence of ISIS and other terror groups in Bangladesh which poses a serious concern to India’s interest. Therefore, a zero tolerance policy towards the terror group by Bangladesh is expected by India.
- Both countries are also part of a number of groupings that seek to expand South Asia’s connectivity with Southeast Asia and China. These include the Mekong Ganga Cooperation Initiative, BIMSTEC, and the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) economic corridor project.
- India is a growing investor in Bangladesh, and now has land earmarked for development of special “Indian economic zones” in Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh can act as a “power corridor” for transmission of hydro energy from Arunachal Pradesh to the rest of India. In the future, this energy trade could well link up with potential hydropower exports from Bhutan and Nepal to form a BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) power market.
- The India-Bangladesh economic relationship has the potential to change the economy of Northeast India, and advance India’s Act East vision
- There exists a huge potential of trade between the two nations, especially north-east (NE) India and Bangladesh which has barely gained any momentum.
Significance of India to Bangladesh
- India has a huge economy compared to Bangladesh and shares one of the deepest cultural ties with it . India is a champion in democracy for the South East Asian countries, and India can therefore help Bangladesh in its internal democratic processes.
- Maintaining a peaceful and cordial relation with India will be more beneficial for Bangladesh rather than the opposite way. There are lot of areas like medical facilities, education, fighting terrorism, developmental projects, etc. where India can prove to be of immense help for Bangladesh in its growth trajectory.
Major Issues b/w India-Bangladesh
India and Bangladesh both suffer from a “perception problem”. In Bangladesh, India is viewed with suspicion because of its geo-strategic interests, overwhelming economic and military strength, and the sharing of Teesta waters.
However, there are some major irritants which needs to be resolved in order to strengthen ties which shall be beneficial to both the countries.
Teesta Water Issue: The Teesta river originates in the Himalayas and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal to merge with the Brahmaputra in Assam and (Jamuna in Bangladesh). Sharing the waters of this river has been a major irritant between the two nations. Almost half a dozen districts in West Bengal are dependent on this river. It is also a major source of irrigation to the paddy growing greater Rangpur region of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has sought an “equitable” distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996 but the objection of West Bengal CM is that it will obstruct the flow for North Bengal and as water is a state subject the centre cannot overrule the concern of the state of West Bengal.
- Bangladesh complains that it does not get a fair share of the water. Since water is a state subject in India, the bottleneck lies in the non-consensus between the state government of Bengal and central government
- Meanwhile, no treaty has been signed yet to resolve the Teesta water-sharing dispute between the two nations.
China’s Influence: Meanwhile, Bangladesh is also an important part of China’s “One Belt and One Road”. China played an important role in developing Bangladesh’s port at Chittagong even before the OBOR initiative came along much to India’s dismay. India believes Bangladesh is a part of “String of pearls” which China is building across the Indian Ocean. New Delhi has been wary of Bangladesh’s growing military proximity with China, particularly the maritime component. Bangladesh has bought two diesel-electric submarines from China, which will necessitate the construction of a submarine base in Bangladesh, a port that might play host to Chinese submarines in future as Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port.
Illegal Migration and Insurgency Issue: The porous border and lack of proper fencing along the country’s longest international border is one of the main reason for huge amount of illegal migration, which includes both refugees and economic migrants, continues unabated. Also the porous border and cattle haats along the border has led to cattle smuggling on a large scale.
- Large influx of such migrants across the boundary has posed serious socio-economic-political problems for the people of Indian states bordering Bangladesh with serious implications for its resources and national security.
- The issue was further complicated when the Rohingya refugees originally from Myanmar started infiltrating into India through Bangladesh.
- Also, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), that is expected to deter future migrants from Bangladesh from entering India illegally has also triggered a major concern in Bangladesh.
Rohingya Crisis: Considering India’s stature in the region, expectations were high that the country would take a proactive role in resolving the Rohingya crisis. But India’s dilly-dallying was a disappointment for Bangladesh. Later, India categorically conveyed that it wants the “safe, secure and sustainable” return of the Rohingya refugees. However, it was a missed opportunity for India when it could have played a leadership role and brought key stakeholders to the negotiating table.
Terrorism: The borders are susceptible to terrorist infiltration. A number of outfits are trying to spread their tentacles across India, such as Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
- JMB is listed as a terror group by Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
- Recently, The National Investigation Agency has filed a charge-sheet against 6 members of the JMB in a special court in Bhopal.
Drug Smuggling & Trafficking: There have been many incidences of cross border drug smuggling & trafficking. Humans ( especially children & women) are trafficked & various animal & bird species are poached through these borders.
Border Disputes: The non-demarcation of a 6.5 km land border along the Comilla – Tripura makes the border question unresolved. India’s reluctance to resolve this issue is attributed to the concerns of the Hindus living in the lands likely to go to Bangladesh after demarcation.
Public discontentment in Bangladesh over India’s policy includes market access by Indian energy companies, the erecting of borders on zero point, the unresolved and unimplemented Teesta treaty, and the lack of market access for Bangladeshi companies and TV channel.
Therefore, a stable, moderate Bangladesh is in India’s long term interests as a constructive India-Bangladesh ties can be a major stabilizing factor for the South Asia region. This makes it imperative for both sides to reduce the mutual trust deficit that has crept into their bilateral ties. India, being the bigger and more powerful of the two, should take the lead in this process by taking constructive steps to improve the relations. India must recognize the strength and weakness with which Bangladesh is naturally endowed by virtue of its geopolitical location.
India made a promise to extend the advanced space technology for the cause of growth and prosperity of the people of South Asia, and felt that the successful launch of South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) marks a fulfillment of that . Similarly, the NAVIC will help in providing navigational NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), India’s indigenous global navigation satellite system, will facilitate accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and the region around it extending to 1,500 km.
Connectivity of the two countries through BBIN corridor and the BCIM corridor will help in the prosperity of the region and provide an aid to economic growth of both the countries.
Special emphasis has been laid on promotion of exchanges in the fields of music, theatre, art, painting, books, etc. A Bilateral Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) 2009-2012 provides the framework for such exchanges.
Land Boundary Agreement
India and Bangladesh have a common land boundary of approximately 4,096 km. Given its sheer length, the border between India and Bangladesh has always been difficult to manage. The India-East Pakistan (Bangladesh) land boundary was determined as per the Radcliffe Award of 1947. Disputes arose out of some provisions in the award. Through Land boundary Agreements, efforts have been made to resolve the aforementioned disputes.
An agreement was signed on May 16, 1974, soon after the independence of Bangladesh, to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. LBA 1974 states that the two countries are expected to exchange territories in Adverse Possession in already demarcated areas. While Bangladesh ratified the agreement, India did not as it involved seceding territory and indicating these precise areas on the ground.
The 1974 agreement provided that India would retain half of Berubari Union No. 12 and in exchange Bangladesh would retain the Dahagram and Angarpota enclaves. The Agreement further provided that India would lease in perpetuity to Bangladesh a small area near Dahagram and Angarpota (the “Tin Bigha” corridor) for the purpose of connecting Dahagram and Angarpota with Bangladesh.
The agreement was implemented in entirety, with the exception of three issues pertaining to un-demarcated land boundary of approximately 6.1 km in three sectors – Daikhata-56 (West Bengal), Muhuri River-Belonia (Tripura) and Lathitila-Dumabari (Assam); exchange of enclaves; and adverse possessions.
A protocol was signed by the two countries on September 6, 2011, after written concurrence of the concerned state governments was obtained. The 2011 Protocol provides for redrawing of boundaries so that the adverse possessions do not have to be exchanged; it has dealt with them on an ‘as is where is’ basis by converting de facto control into de jure recognition.
In respect of adverse possessions, India is to receive 2,777.038 acres of land and to transfer 2267.682 acres to Bangladesh. Over time, it became extremely difficult to implement the terms of 1974 LBA as it meant uprooting people living in the adverse possessions from the land in which they had lived all their lives and to which they had developed sentimental and religious attachments. Both India and Bangladesh, therefore, agreed to maintain the status quo in addressing the issue of adverse possessions instead of exchanging them as was earlier required for in the LBA, 1974.
Land in Adverse Possession
An adverse possession’ is territory that is contiguous to India’s border and within Indian control, but which is legally part of Bangladesh. People living in territories in adverse possession are technically in occupation and possession of land beyond the boundary pillars, but they are administered by the laws of the country of which they are citizens and where they enjoy all legal rights, including the right to vote. They have deeprooted ties to their land, which go back decades and are categorically unwilling to be uprooted. Many local communities have sentimental or religious attachments to the land in which they live.
The historic 2015 LBA facilitated the transfer of 111 enclaves, adding up to 17,160.63 acres, from India to Bangladesh. Conversely, India received 51 enclaves, adding up to 7,110.02 acres, which were in Bangladesh. The benefit of the agreement will be felt primarily by residents, who can now choose which country to join, acquiring basic benefits of citizenship in the process .
The 2015 LBA implements the unresolved issues stemming from the un-demarcated land boundary— approximately 6.1-km long—in three sectors, viz. Daikhata-56 (West Bengal), Muhuri River-Belonia (Tripura) and Lathitila-Dumabari (Assam); exchange of enclaves; and adverse possessions, which were first addressed in the 2011 Protocol. It is important to note that in the land swap, Bangladesh gained more territory than India did.
Issue with Enclaves
- The flawed nature of the partition left 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladesh enclaves in India. Their inhabitants did not enjoy full legal rights as citizens of either country or proper facilities such as electricity, schools and health services. Even law and order agencies did not have proper access to these areas. A joint census in 2010 found that around 51,549 (37,334 of them in Indian enclaves within Bangladesh) people inhabited these enclaves.
- The LBA states that people in these areas have the right to stay where they are as nationals of the State to which the areas were transferred. But a joint India-Bangladesh delegation that visited these enclaves in May 2007 found that people residing in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and Bangladeshi enclaves in India did not want to leave their land and would rather be in the country where they had lived all their lives. Movement of people, if any, is therefore expected to be minimum.
Benefits of the LBA
- It ensures that the India-Bangladesh boundary is permanently settled and there should be no more differences in interpretation, regardless of the government in power.
- It promotes confidence in building better relations.
- The exchange of enclaves will mitigate major humanitarian problems as the residents in the enclaves and others on their behalf had often complained of the absence of basic amenities and facilities;
- All inhabitants can now look forward to a national identity and enjoy the same benefits and services as their neighbours living outside the enclaves.
- The settlement of Adverse Possessions will lead to tranquillity and peace along the border.
- Addressing Teesta River Water Dispute: To establish a consensus towards demarcating the extent of teesta river water sharing and reaching a mutual agreement, both the Bengal government and the central government should work together with mutual understanding and signal cooperative federalism.
- Better Connectivity: There is a need to enhance connectivity in the region through strengthening cooperation in coastal connectivity, road, rail and inland waterways.
- Energy Security: As the global energy crisis continues to rise, it is imperative that India and Bangladesh cooperate in making use of clean and green energy in order to make South Asia Energy self-sufficient.
- India Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline: This project is being undertaken through ground and once completed will help in the movement of high speed diesel to Northern Bangladesh from India.
- Bangladesh has acknowledged Indian Oil Corporation Limited as a registered government to government supply of refined petroleum products.
- Shifting Focus Towards Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA): Bangladesh will graduate from a Less Developed Country (LDC) to a developing country by 2026 and will no longer be entitled to trade and other benefits that are accorded to LDCs under international and regional trading agreements.
- Through the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), Bangladesh will be able to manage this transition and preserve its trade privileges. It will also strengthen economic ties between India and Bangladesh.
- Countering China’s Influence: Assisting Bangladesh with Nuclear technology, Artificial intelligence, Modern farming techniques, and flood data exchange will further strengthen India’s relationship with Bangladesh and help India in countering China’s influence to a greater extent.
- Tackling the Refugee Crisis: India and Bangladesh can take the lead in encouraging other countries in the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to develop a SAARC declaration on refugees, laying down a specific procedures for determining status of refugee and economic migrants.
The two countries have immense potential in various areas of cooperation. However, if Bangladesh-lndia relations are to truly succeed, India must seek to win the hearts and minds of the Bangladeshi people and seek out ways to squash their perception of being an unfriendly neighbour. Political will, along with mutually beneficial exchanges, are the components for a sustainable Bangladesh-lndia alliance. The renewing of the 25-year treaty of friendship and cooperation on the basis of sovereign equality can help India gain trust among Bangladeshi people. As both the countries are vulnerable to terrorism, they should jointly cooperate with each other in tackling terrorism. Also, increase in investments can be increased by improving the business climate, connectivity, and reducing nontariff barriers.