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.