The Rise of Bangladesh and its Implications for India’s North East session was organised by #IMPRI Centre for International Relation and Strategic Studies (CIRSS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the 15th of June, 2023. The session was inaugurated by Jiyan Roytalukdar, a researcher at IMPRI, who welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction of distinguished panelists.
The dialogue was commenced by the Chair, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Former Secretary (East), MEA & Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, New Delhi. In her opening remarks, she shared her curiosity over the rise of Bangladesh in South Asia, it’s sustaining and increasing economic growth, the success rate of inviting foreign investment and development of its industries, and lastly, the impact of Partition on the political, economic and security facets of Bangladesh and India’s North East.
Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das had now set the stage for the discussion between the panelists and participants to engage and participate.
Panelist 1 | Professor Mustafizur Rahman
Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow, Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dhaka, began the dialogue with his opening remarks, addressing Bangladesh’s impressive economic growth over the past decade and a half. Prof. Rahman initiated his talk by stating the economic graduations experienced by Bangladesh since 2015, about how a country born out of adversity can develop, then, therefore, any country can develop and flourish.
While discussing India and Bangladesh’s friendship in this competitive era of benefits, the two nations share the World’s fifth-longest border. Focusing on the political and economic variation of the two nations, a shared commonality till the present day stands to be the Jakhar Cement Factory, in Bangladesh, which still has its linkages in Meghalaya, Assam.
Professor Rahman elaborated on how Bangladesh’s development discourse has evolved and progressed over the past decade and a half. How port and transport development has contributed to the country’s economic prosperity. He further added, the Chhattogram and Sylhet ports of Bangladesh, boosted connectivity between Bangladesh and India’s North East and the two countries signed an agreement in 2019 to extend transit through Indian territory to Nepal and Bhutan. He concluded his talk by drawing inspiration from the title, “Rise of Bangladesh”, which is an opportunity for both Bangladesh and India’s North East.
Panelist 2 | Professor Prabir De
Professor Prabir De, Professor, Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi, gave us a presentation covering the development in critical sectors that have led to the rise in Bangladesh. He emphasised Bangladesh’s poverty reduction and economic progress, particularly in the industrial industry. He further stated that Bangladesh’s progress has contributed to its economic prosperity and strengthened its security.
Tripura’s connectivity linkages with Bangladesh are crucial for India’s North East. It promotes third-world trade by rail, road (IWT), and digital means. Airports like Agartala serve as regional hubs for both Bangladesh and India’s North East, whereas, the latter serves as a hub for education, health, and tourism. Sabroom will eventually serve as an economic hub, industrial and rail transit center.
Professor De further elaborated on the Protocol on Inland Waterways Transit Trade, PIWIT, which helps promote intra-state trade between Bangladesh and India’s North East. The Indo-Bangladesh Coastal Shipping Agreement, signed in 2015- facilitates the direct coastal movement of goods between India, India’s Eastern Region, and Bangladesh through ports. He further added the Agreement of Chattogram and Mongla incorporated the Chattogram and Mongla ports into this framework. Thus, enhancing trade and supply chains in the region.
He concluded his presentation by stating the challenges that would arise in this expanding partnership between Bangladesh and India’s North East, as well as how the rise of Bangladesh would be of tremendous advantage for India’s North Eastern Region.
The discussion was followed by a question and answer session. Two important questions, one about the Padma River Bridge and the second about the People to people’s connection between India and Bangladesh were answered.
Closing the session, Jiyan Roytalukdar thanked the panel members for their insightful sessions, and the program ended with a vote of thanks.
Acknowledge: Narayani, a research intern at IMPRI