India’s Policy for Bangladesh in present situation

India’s Policy for Bangladesh in present situation

What policy should India follow vis a vis the present conditions in Bangladesh? How will Bangladesh's instability impact the region?

Indian Policy

India should follow a policy of non-involvement as Bangladesh is facing considerable political instability at present.

• Constructive dialogue between the government and the opposition is needed. At this juncture, there is little that India can do.

• In fact, given the rise of radical Islamists in Bangladesh, a policy of non-involvement is judicious given the domestic concerns and religious pluralism of India.

• India should also be firm regarding border disputes with Bangladesh as well as inflow of migrants from this nation.

• There should be clear communication on this score to prevent any skirmishes across the border

• Finally, India should support peace and democracy in Bangladesh through public statements to this effect.

Impact of Political Instability on the Region

Bangladesh’s instability will impact the region in various ways. Primarily, this secular predominantly Muslim nation is struggling to maintain peace and order as “Battling Begums” set the stage for a political confrontation. Amidst charges of rigged elections and a political deadlock, many of the neighbouring nations are withdrawing from long lasting relations with Bangladesh at present. The country’s record of developmental success is being overridden by the present turmoil which will impact the region in the following manner:

• Increase in unrest motivated by political concerns

• Stage for a growth of terrorism on account of unrest and lack of peace

• In case BNP wins, a greater role for China in the country; less emphasis on combating Islamist extremism

• Bangladesh is the eighth most populous nation in the world and it has been a major trading partner with neighbouring nations. Continued unrest will also impact trade and economic growth as well as development in the region

• Bangladesh has also received considerable developmental assistance from India and other nations; the unrest will block bilateral relationship in a negative manner

Facts and Stats:

- Bangladesh has the fifth largest textile industry in the world; this has been impacted by the unrest

- Economic and educational opportunities are diminishing as literacy rates are low and internet penetration is weak while corruption is considerable

- Roughly 35% of the population is under 15; Grameen Bank has lifted Bangladeshis out of poverty

- Country ranks 146th on UN HDI and estimated 30% of the population live below USD 1.25 per day

About the Unrest:

- Tensions have cost USD 15.5 billion to Bangladesh since January 2015

- Two months ago, Bangladesh went into political chaos with violent clashes between PM Sheikh Hasina’s followers and that of Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party

The fight is over the elections where Awami League leader Hasina was voted into power as BNP boycotted the elections.
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