India is not signing any bilateral treaties with Bangladesh in External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s already commenced brief trip to Bangladesh. Yet, the new NDA government chose Bangladesh as the first destination for the new minister. It serves well to remind that the issue of Bangladeshi insurgents was a crucial point of BJP’s poll manifesto. Modi himself, time and again roared that he will send all Bangla immigrants from India, stripping them of all and any official recognitions from the Indian government during his campaigning. He has assured an impenetrable barbwire fence on the India-Bangla border too. But Bangladesh is the biggest and most important neighbor of India if Pakistan is not included in the list, hence assumes a deserving special place in the diplomacy of the country.
That is exactly why, Sushma is currently having discussions with Abdul Hasan Mahmood Ali, the Bangla foreign minister. The issues under discussion are the insurgency, border security and the long pending Teesta river water sharing. The West Bengal government, the immediate neighbors of Bangladesh have been opposed to any agreements on the Teesta river. WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been opposed to Teesta gareement earlier too and she successfully dissuaded Man Mohan Singh’s administration too to stay away from it. She has reportedly conveyed the same views to Sushma Swaraj when the Union Minister called her yesterday before embarking on her trip, as per reports.
The BJP government has declared serious intentions to strengthen the Saarc grouping when the leaders of the nations were called to Modi’s oath taking. This trip is the second step in that regard and a very crucial step considering the various concerns India has with Bangladesh.
Sushma Swaraj will visit the Bangla President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina later today. Sheikh Hasina will be formally invited by Sushma to visit India. She will also visit opposition leader Khaleda Zia tomorrow. If all these meetings create a rapport with the BJP Minister, the bad blood Bangla administration had with the former NDA government will be gone and a new association will emerge which will be crucial to India’s regional dominance.