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Today you will read : India-Bangladesh Relations
Both Bangladesh and the Republic of India are part of the Indian subcontinent and have had a long common cultural, economic and political history. The cultures of the two countries are quite similar. The two Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura speak Bengali that is also spoken in Bangladesh. In 1947, India became independent and was split into Pakistan and what is now the Republic of India. At that time, the Bengal region was divided into two: East Bengal (present-day Bangladesh) and West Bengal. East Bengal was made a part of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan due to the fact that both regions had an overwhelmingly large Muslim population, more than 86%. In 1955, the government of Pakistan changed its name from East Bengal to East Pakistan.
There were many confrontations between Islamic Republic of Pakistan and East Pakistan due to many reasons. Firstly, in 1948, Muhammad Ali Jinnah declared that Urdu would be the sole official language of the entire nation, though more than 95% of the East Bengali population spoke Bengali. And when protests broke out in Bangladesh on February 21, 1952, Pakistani police fired on the protesters, killing hundreds. Secondly, East Pakistan was allotted only a small amount of revenue for its development out of the Pakistani national budget.
Therefore, a separatist movement started to grow in the estranged province. When the main separatist party the Awami League, headed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won 167 of 169 seats up for grabs in the 1970 elections and got the right to form the government, the Pakistan president under Yahya Khan refused to recognize the election results and arrested Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This led to widespread protests in East Pakistan and eventually in 1971, there was a liberation war which ended with East Pakistan becoming independent and renaming itself to Bangladesh. In this war, Indian troops fought together with East Pakistani ones, against West Pakistan which is now called as Pakistan.
Since Bangladesh gained its independence, it established relations with India. The political relationship between India and Bangladesh has passed through cycles of hiccups. The relationship typically becomes favorable for Bangladesh during the periods of Awami League government. Relations have improved significantly, after Bangladesh's clampdown on anti-Indian groups on its soil, such as the United Liberation Front of Assam.
There have been a lot of areas of contention between India and Bangladesh. A major area of contention has been the construction and operation of the Farakka Barrage by India to increase water supply in the river Hoogly. Bangladesh insists that it does not receive a fair share of the Ganges waters during the drier seasons, and gets flooded during the monsoons when India releases excess waters.
There have also been disputes regarding the transfer of Teen Bigha Corridor to Bangladesh. A Part of Bangladesh is surrounded by the Indian state of West Bengal. On 26 June 1992, India leased three bigha land to Bangladesh to connect this enclave with mainland Bangladesh. There is dispute regarding the indefinite nature of the lease.
Another very contentious issue is of porous border between India and Bangladesh which leads to illegal Bangladeshi immigration into India. Due to the porous border and migrants are able to cross illegally, though sometimes only in return for financial or other incentives to border security personnel.
Continuous border killing of Indian and Bangladeshi people, aiding illegal immigrants, helping in armed decoity, fake money transfer and illegal drug trades by both Indian and Bangladeshi people are some more major problems between Bangladesh and India.
There have been a lot of healthy discussions and meetings to overcome these issues. Both countries have the success story of the Ganges River Water Treaty which has survived almost 15 years and changes of government in both countries, leasing of teen bigha land by India and many more.
Recently, Resolving a decades-old border dispute, India and Bangladesh signed a historic agreement on demarcation of land boundaries on 6th Sept, 2011. The protocol was signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who went to Dhaka on his maiden visit which came under a shadow after the much-anticipated Teesta river treaty was put on hold. Even after PM’s visit the pact has not yet been signed but it is expected that both the countries will soon come to a common ground.
But there is good news for tens of thousands of "stateless border people". The two countries agreed "to put in motion" a deal that allows about 50 Bangladeshi enclaves inside India to be integrated within Bangladesh and about 100 Indian areas inside Bangladesh to become part of India.
This augurs well for the resolution of other contentious issues between them which will be in the interest of both India and Bangladesh.
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