Transit issue not a one sided love story

Sazid Khan

Sazid Khan

Transit has become an issue of hue and cry for the Bangladeshi people. Laymen and think tanks of the country are making a storm in the tea cup because of this contemporary issue. The most interesting thing, probably the important thing is all the people from different classes are calculating the balance sheet before offering India to use the soil of Bangladesh. There is a pool of people here in Bangladesh who is very much apprehensive about this transit issue. These people are claiming that the internal security will be jeopardizing if Bangladesh allow India to ply on her.  The infrastructure of the country will be hampered by overusing and paying less compensation by the neighboring country as the present government did not disclose the contract yet. These people believe that even after Bangladesh has given India multi-modal transit and other facilities, its bigger neighbor has failed to reciprocate these goodwill gestures. An anti-Indian ally sometimes says that Indians want to see Sheikh Hasina in power for the second term in a row but they want a quick realisation of the outstanding issues that are plaguing both the countries diplomatic and political relationship. They would like to deal with the unresolved issues with Indian interests in mind before the Awami League government ends its tenure.

 Now the question comes whether these propagandas make any miss-conception among the citizen of this country? Are we making our neighbor enemy or we are showing an antagonistic attitude to her? All the debates and miss-understanding could be make it very clear if our government would make it very public and our local media persons would understand and focus on this issue. But alas both of these groups could not make it happen. However, the transit is being treated more as a political issue than the economic benefits. But the thing is Bangladesh has nothing to fear from giving it transit rights to access its land-locked northeastern states. If Bangladesh gives connectivity to India through its territory, the latter stands to gain in terms of market access to the northeastern Indian states.

 The main job of our diplomats would be to reap out the best for Bangladesh. India has started bargaining for the very subject. The high officials of that country are frequently visiting Bangladesh for their sweet share. We are highly lagging here.

 India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, will visit early in September to sign deals on sensitive matters like sharing rivers, sending electricity over the border, settling disputed patches of territory on the 4,095km (2,500-mile) frontier and stopping India’s trigger-happy border guards from murdering migrants and cow-smugglers. Most important, however, is a deal on setting up a handful of transit routes across Bangladesh, to reach India’s remote, isolated north-eastern states. These are the “seven sisters” wedged up against the border with China. On the face of it, the $10 billion project will develop poor areas cut off from India’s booming economy. The Asian Development Bank and others see Bangladeshi gains too, from better roads, ports, railways and much-needed trade. In Dhaka, the capital, the central-bank governor says broader integration with India could lift economic growth by a couple of percentage points, from nearly 7% already. India has handed over half of a $1 billion soft loan for the project, and the money is being spent on new river-dredgers and rolling stock. Bangladesh’s rulers are mustard-keen. The country missed out on an earlier infrastructure bonanza involving a plan to pipe gas from Myanmar to India. China got the pipeline instead.

So the whole thing is a mutual game where both of the country will be benefitted helping each other. Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have opened their door to India. Even Pakistan has enormous transaction with India than Bangladesh in trade and cultural activities. Then why should we lag behind. People of this country should understand the basic principle of international trade that poor country gains more trading with a rich country.  It is not that we are giving everything to India and getting zero in return. To have a better Bangladesh and to use the resource of the country fully we need to open up our door and welcome our neighboring friends.


11 Responses to “Transit issue not a one sided love story”

  1. Fatema emrose nisha

    Yah u r giht in some case tht we’r not giving AWAY ALL and also receiving something in return and if we can help building our economy through this ..thn why not to join tht>??…there’s something else..tht pipl don’t knw abt tht clearly cz of our political inflicts and so called darn political controversy….we rnot saying tht we won’t let them do tht bt they will have to promise us tht they will allow our pipl to use the water of padma .tht means they will have to demolish the FARAKKA dame…and help ou r pipl to relkieve…as well tht they will have to do the same for all other dames……right?????

  2. Khondkar A saleque

    Agreed with the logic of regional connectivity .But regional policies must include resolutions of all bilateral issues on the basis of soveriegn equality. Bangladsehis can not accept the present arrangement of providing India transit whole heartedly till sharing of water of all common international rivers are agreed on the basis of equity, till BSF killings of Bangladeshis at border is stopped, till India resolves boundary disputes , agrees to exchange border enclaves aceepting provisions of Mujib – Indira agreement in full, withdrawal of all tariff and non tariff barriers on Bangladeshi export commodities. BCCI is the only cricket Borad which has not hosted Bangladesh for a cricket tour in India. Why?
    India must realise why most of the Bangladeshis can no longer take India in full confidence despite its massive assistance in the liberation war.We have no issues with Bangladesh agrreing to regional connectivity .But all other bilateral issues must be amicably resolved simultaneously.People will decide who will rule Bangladesh. India or USA will not do that.

  3. K

    If Bangladesh gives access to india, on a basis of equality and quid pro quo, Bangladesh should get access to Nepal and via Nepal China.

  4. Javed Zaman

    Transit is a win-win scenario for all countries involved. Bangladesh is poised to make rapid strides in economic progress if political stability and democracy is strenghtened.

    Here’s a recent report from Citi:

    Global Growth Generators: Moving beyond ‘Emerging Markets’ and ‘BRIC.’
    March 1, 2011 4:06 PM By Citi

    Citi’s Willem Buiter and Ebrahim Rahbari recently outlined new systematic research by Citi Investment Research & Analysis [CIRA] into global generators of growth, focusing principally on countries, but proposing to extend the approach in future research to regions, cities, commodities, asset classes, activities, and products. The authors said that while the so-called “BRIC” countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are a key part of the world growth story through 2050, they are examining the potential in a much wider range of markets.

    Their research suggests a trajectory of strong overall global growth, with average real GDP growth rates of 4.6% per annum until 2030 and 3.8% per annum between 2030 and 2050, translating to a rise in world GDP in real PPP-adjusted terms from 72 trillion USD in 2010 to 380 trillion USD in 2050. Buiter and Ebrahim identify developing Asia and Africa as the fastest growing regions, driven by population and income per capita growth, followed by the Middle East, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS, and finally the advanced nations of today. Transformations include China overtaking the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, but then being overtaken by India by 2050.

    The Citi team observes that many countries with emerging markets have reached a threshold level of institutional quality and political stability, and are already positioned well for growth. For poor countries with large young populations and at an earlier stage of development, Buiter and Rahbari point to a clear path: open up, create some form of market economy and invest in human and physical capital. At that stage, many countries are poised for more growth from a period of “catch-up” and “convergence” with the developed world, the paper said. Still, there will be booms and busts, with “growth disasters driven by poor policy, conflicts, or natural disasters.”

    Buiter and Ebrahim identify Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam as having the most promising per-capita growth prospects. “They are our 3G countries,” the paper said.

  5. INDEPENDENT MUSLIM THINKER

    Poor Bangladesh! Cannot look after her own border & what strength she has to
    refuse Giant India. Everyday, We read , everyday our fellow poor people are being masacared in the border areas by BSF. People living in the border areas in Sylhet Tamabil & Jaflong are not allowed to culviate in their own land inside Bangladesh. Was it not the duty of our tiny Bangladesh to approach India to maintain peace & tranquality in our own zones. Tell you my friends Sylhet will be dry land as soon the Barrage built over Kushiara River.
    India has Egles claws ,You have no power to refuse them , one way you befriend with India, other way you create enmity with China.
    Bangladesh is devoured by crocodiles both inside & out.
    Muslim Countries are being torn apart for internal hates,
    again Bangladesh is victimised by natural calamites, continued political chaos, economic disaster along with day to day murder, theft,robbery bribaries & what not. Name any crime, you will find in Bangladesh, name any evil, you will find inside. We are shivering with the fear of wrath of ALLAH SWT, the way sin is growing inside the country peril may appear any time. only ALLAH knows what is forthcoming in the country.

  6. Shahab Shakil

    Why the debate is there? Why Government is not disclosing the clauses of the agreement? We just want to see the Balance sheet. How much we are giving and how much we are getting? What are the terms and percentage of interest to be paid back for the loan given by indian Bank? Whats the rate of Transhipment fees per Truck of goods? Whether armament will be allowed to transport through our land ? What negotiation our government has done to resolve old issues?…. So long, All these point remain hidden….. I don’t believe we can hope something better even be benifitted by single penny .

  7. john

    Bangladesh is surriunded by India in all three sides. India has millions of Bangladeshi illegals all over India. If Bangladesh cooperates with India, many more jobs will be created for the poor. Bangladesh will have a big market for her products in the north east. Stop politics and try to live together. India is getting very big and Bangladesh should try to get a slice out of it. animosity does not help, least of all produce jobs fore the poor.

  8. vilas

    What I do not understand is if Bdesh can not provide for its citizen and Bangladeshi’s prefer to find better future in India why not go back to border before 1947 and work as a one country. The amount of money saved from Bangladesh defence budget can then be used developing East Bengal and West Bengal together.

  9. Shre...

    Rule of a friendly match should ever be honored and it says “LET’s PLAY HAND IN HAND”…
    This rule is also applicable for a ‘mutual game’ named “INTERNATIONAL TRADE”

  10. saugat lahiri

    Have had a chance to vist all the saarc countries except pak,afg & bangladesh,ALL have & are benefiting from good commercial ties with India.Tata’s wanted to have factory in BD but backed out,who loses on jobs ??your political and religious honcho’s or God knows how many deserving bangladeshi men & women how cannot have a better life for their families in Bangladesh and not leave for foreign shores….

    Some of your political & religious leaders still carry the backlog of the two nation theory,hence all the hullaboo.I am a Bangali,and just returned home from the Kolkata Film festival where the Bangladeshi film on 1971 “Guerilla” got the Best Film Award.Ask them if you can, to know that amount of respect,affection and warmth the BD delegates got.

    If you want to be like Pak ,ur choice…but would be better to give Peace,friendship and common sense a chance.

    Jai Hind,Joy Bangla

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