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Must Work Together To Fight Forces


  • Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, will pay a State Visit to India from September 5 to 8, 2022.
  • During her visit, she met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a bilateral basis.
  • Bangladesh’s visiting Prime Minister met with India’s Prime Minister, during which the two sides signed seven agreements.
  • These treaties address railways, science and technology, space cooperation, media, and water sharing.


GS Paper 2: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Mains Question

India has civilizational, cultural, social, and economic ties with Bangladesh. Discuss the current areas of collaboration as well as the associated concerns. Also, where should the future focus be? (250 words)

List of Exchanged Agreements/MoUs

  • Memorandum of Understanding on Water Withdrawal by India and Bangladesh from the Common Border River Kushiyara
    • This is their first such agreement in over 25 years; the Ganga Water Treaty was signed in 1996.
    • The Kushiyara River is a branch of the Barak River that splits into the Kushiyara and Surma.
    • The people of southern Assam and Sylhet in Bangladesh will benefit from this agreement.
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Bangladesh Railway Personnel Training in India
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Collaboration in IT Systems such as the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) and other IT Applications for Bangladesh Railway
  • Memorandum of Understanding on a Training and Capacity Building Program for Bangladeshi Judicial Officers in India
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Space Technology Cooperation
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technological Cooperation
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Broadcasting Cooperation

Inauguration/Announcement of Projects

  • Dedication of Maitree Power Plant Unit I
    • Indian Development Assistance is being used to build a 1320 (660×2) MW supercritical coal-fired thermal power plant in Rampal, Khulna.
    • India’s contribution to this project is USD 1.6 billion.
  • Rupsha Bridge Dedication
    • The 5.13 km Rupsha rail bridge will connect Mongla Port to Khulna by rail for the first time, and then to Central and North Bangladesh.
  • It will also provide access to the Indian border at Petrapole and Gede in West Bengal.
  • Provision of road-building equipment and machinery
    • The project entails supplying Bangladesh with road maintenance and construction equipment and machinery.
  • The Khulna Darshana Railway Link Project
    • The project is an upgrade of existing infrastructure (doubling of Broad Gauge) connecting the current cross-border rail link at Gede-Darshana to Khulna.
    • It will improve rail connections between the two countries.
  • Railway line Parbatipur-Kaunia
    • The project will improve bilateral rail connectivity by connecting to the existing cross-border rail at Birol (Bangladesh)-Radhikapur (West Bengal).

Other noteworthy aspects of the meeting

  • Comprehensive trade agreement talksThe two parties also agreed to begin talks on a Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).The CEPA is expected to focus on trade in goods, services, and investment, with the primary goal of closing the trade gap between the two countries.Scholarship for descendants of ’71 war soldiersBangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the Mujib scholarship for direct descendants of Indian soldiers killed or severely injured in the 1971 Bangladesh war.
  • During the war, 1,984 Indian Army personnel were killed.

India and Bangladesh have a trade relationship.

  • Despite disruptions caused by Covid-19, bilateral trade increased at an unprecedented rate of nearly 44%, from $10.78 billion in 2020-21 to $18.13 billion in 2021-22.
    • By 2021-22, Bangladesh will be India’s largest trade partner in South Asia and the fourth largest destination for Indian exports globally.
      • Exports to Bangladesh increased by more than 66%, from $9.69 billion in fiscal year 2020-21 to $16.15 billion in fiscal year 2021-22.
    • India is Bangladesh’s second-largest trade partner and its largest Asian export market.

Existing trade framework

  • During PM Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015, the bilateral trade agreement between the two countries was renewed for a period of five years with an automatic renewal provision.
    • Under the terms of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Bangladesh grants preferential tariff treatment to Indian exports of products not on the’sensitive list’ of 993 items.
    • In 2011, India announced duty-free and quota-free access for all tariff lines except tobacco and alcohol to Bangladesh.
    • A Protocol on Inland Waterways Trade and Transit (PIWTT) has been in place since 1972 to facilitate trade and transit via inland waterways.
    • Direct sea movement of containerized/bulk/dry cargo began in June 2015, following the signing of an MoU on Coastal Shipping.
      • The shipping time between India and Bangladesh has been reduced from 30-40 days to 7-10 days as a result of this.
    • In 2015, Memorandums of Understanding were signed for the use of the Chittagong and Mongla Ports for the movement of goods to and from India.
    • During Prime Minister Hasina’s visit to India in April 2017, the MoU on Border Haats on the India-Bangladesh border was renewed.
  • Currently, four Border Haats are operational, two in Meghalaya (Kalaichar and Balat) and two in Tripura (Srinagar and Kamalasagar)

December 2023