News Karnataka
Wednesday, April 24 2024

Hasina’s Win in Bangladesh Polls: Unusual Consensus for India, China

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Bangladesh: Bangladesh is set to hold elections on Sunday, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina anticipated to secure a fourth consecutive term. The main opposition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has opted to boycott the elections, citing concerns about fairness under the current government. While the US and other Western nations express worries over reported arrests of opposition figures, India has emphasized that the election is Bangladesh’s internal matter.

India’s stance reflects its strategic interests in maintaining a friendly relationship with Bangladesh, a nation it surrounds on three sides. With Bangladesh as a crucial ally for security and connectivity to India’s northeastern states, Prime Minister Hasina has fostered strong political and economic ties since 2009. The collaboration is evident in joint infrastructure projects, such as the Agartala-Akhaura rail link and the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, contributing to increased trade and improved connectivity.

Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh surpassed $15 billion in 2021-22, and the cooperation extends to Bangladesh procuring arms from India. New Delhi is concerned that a return of the BNP could lead to the resurgence of Islamists in Bangladesh, as observed during the 2001-2006 coalition government. India also values Hasina’s actions against Islamist and ethnic insurgent groups operating from Bangladesh.

Regarding security, there are fears that Western insistence on democratic principles, leading to sanctions, may push Bangladesh closer to China. China, a strategic competitor to India, has invested significantly in Bangladesh through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), submarine sales, and infrastructure projects. Despite concerns about China’s growing influence, Hasina’s government has skillfully balanced relationships with both India and China, recognizing their importance for Bangladesh’s development.

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