Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina will visit New Delhi soon in an attempt to provide an entirely new direction to ties with India, diplomatic sources said.
Though the need for a closer relationship with India can be seen in the context of Bangladesh’s troubles with Myanmar, sources said Ms. Hasina had set her sights on entering into ties with India as soon as she took over as Prime Minister.
A high-level task force reviewed its ties with India and identified areas where progress could be made by the two governments during their initial years in Dhaka and New Delhi. “We realise we have a two-year window in which we can take initiatives that will stand the test of time and future governments,” said highly placed sources.
While Dhaka is hoping for sympathetic treatment from New Delhi on the questions of river water sharing and economics and trade, India wants the routing of all insurgent groups that have been using hard-to-reach areas in Bangladesh as recuperation and training bases.
Bangladesh has taken heart from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent assurance about India’s willingness to accept asymmetrical responsibilities, including opening its markets to South Asian neighbours, without insisting on reciprocity.
The desire for closer ties with India was accentuated after a probe into the massacre of Bangladesh Army officials by mutinous Bangladesh Rifles jawans found leads to another country’s mission in Dhaka. The trail of an earlier gun-running incident of massive proportions also led to the same mission.
The attempt to reset India-Bangladesh ties began with the appointment of Ahmad Tariq Karim — who came out of self-imposed retirement — as the High Commissioner here. But the reversal of the anti-India approach began with the Interim Government, which encouraged high-level exchanges, including at the level of top armed forces officials.
Last year, Bangladesh, for the first time, honoured Indian Army soldiers martyred in its war for liberation during its National Day celebrations.