Hasina completes 8 years: How India-Bangla ties are strongest than ever

“If there is one example where the neighborhood first policy has yielded good result, it is in case of Bangladesh.”

Hasina completes 8 years: How India-Bangla ties are strongest than ever

The founding father of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s daughter, Sheikh Hasina is the most powerful leader in south-asia today. As the leader of the ruling Awami League, she has been the Prime Minister of the 180 million country since 2009. Hasina is one of the most powerful women in the world, ranking 36th on Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016. Her conversation with US President Donald Trump in 2017’s United Nations General Assembly reflected deep self-respect and assertiveness that has been widely acknowledged.

Hasina had to confront a major national crisis in the form of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles revolt. In 2012, she maintained a hardline stance and refused to allow entry to Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar during the 2012 Rakhine State riots. One of the most fascinating developments in Bangladesh under Hasina’s leadership has been the increase in women’s political participation in governance and decision making. Today, Bangladesh is a leader in women’s parliamentary representation globally.

Three heroic traits that a hero should possess are being a true leader, being strong decision-maker and devotion. Hasina has all the three. Relations with India too stand at peak presently with continued high-level visits and increased trade with the latest development being Dhaka easing Hilsa transportation to Kolkata. India definitely doesn’t want the opposition led by BNP president Khaleda Zia to gain ground. The BNP is in an open alliance with fundamentalist forces, including the Jamate-e-Islami, a party that participated in the genocide of Bengalis along with the Pakistani forces.

Hasina led Awami Leaque has strengthened the pillars of secularism in Bangladesh more than ever. The government has been iron-handedly tried the war-criminals (the trial of people who participated in the mass killings in 1971 of Mukti Bahini and the Bengali’s seeking independence) that was withheld over the last three decades.

After the savage and well-conspired attack in the most grotesque manifestation in the heart of Dhaka, Holey Artisan Bakery killing 24 people on 1 July, 2016, the government dealt with zero tolerance. So far, most extremist outfits behind the bloodshed have been destroyed and their leaders killed or captured. The training camps and hideouts of Indian insurgent groups in Bangladesh have been reduced to “almost zero”, the Border Security Force recently said, thanking its Bangladeshi counterpart for its help. Under the Hasina government, Bangladesh has upped its cooperation with India in cracking down on the North-East militants within its borders. Several insurgent leaders have been informally handed over at the borders. The “neighborhood first” policy of PM Modi has upped the ante on maintaining closer ties with all our neighbours to put pressure on Pakistan.

In July 2014, New Delhi and Dhaka accepted the judgment of International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and settled a long-standing maritime order dispute. In June 2015, when Modi visited Bangladesh, the two countries exchanged the instruments of ratification on the historic land boundary agreement. In April this year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited India, during which India announced a new credit line of $4.5 billion. Showcasing ties with Bangladesh as a testimony to India’s official policy of “neighborhood first,” India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar  said that “If there is one example where the neighborhood first policy has yielded good result, it is in case of Bangladesh.” It’s definitely true.