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5th April 2024 (10 Topics)

Rising Anti India Sentiments

Context

Recent developments have highlighted a growing anti-India sentiment in Bangladesh, reminiscent of the wave observed earlier in Maldives. Social media trolls have sparked controversy, leading to a diplomatic standoff between India and Bangladesh. This emerging trend underscores a significant shift in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

1: Dimension-Factors fuelling the Anti-India Wave in Bangladesh

  • Historical grievances: Some segments of the Bangladeshi population harbor historical grievances, particularly regarding India's role in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.
  • Perceived interference: Recent political developments in Bangladesh, coupled with allegations of Indian interference in internal affairs (India’s actively siding with Sheikh Hasina), have contributed to the anti-India sentiment.
  • Social media influence: Similar to the situation in Maldives, social media platforms have played a pivotal role in amplifying anti-India narratives, further exacerbating tensions between the two nations.

2: Dimension-Significance of Bangladesh for India

  • Bangladesh is in a geographic position to provide India’s landlocked Northeast with access to the sea.
  • It offered India the usage of Bangladesh’s Mongla and Chattogram ports for cargo movement and the development of Assam and Tripura.
  • Furthermore, as India’s immediate eastern neighbour and a land bridge to Southeast Asia, Bangladesh is critical for India’s Act East and Neighbourhood First policies.

3: Dimension-Implication for Both Countries

  • Diplomatic tensions: The brewing anti-India sentiment has strained diplomatic relations between India and Bangladesh, potentially undermining years of bilateral cooperation and goodwill.
  • Regional stability: As two neighboring countries, India and Bangladesh share a crucial relationship that impacts regional stability and security. Any deterioration in relations could have broader implications for South Asian geopolitics.
  • Economic cooperation: A reduction in Indian imports may force Bangladesh to import from China. It will increase Bangladesh’s dependence on China.
    • It will impact Bangladesh’s corporate sector, particularly in software and service-based businesses, as well as the hiring of Indian skilled workers and experts in Bangladesh.

4: Dimension-Transformation in India’s global image

  • India's global image has transformed and it signifies its emergence as a dynamic player in the evolving geopolitical landscape, navigating complex international relations while pursuing its strategic interests and aspirations for global leadership. This shift is evident in several aspects:
  • Evolving Diplomatic Alliances: India's diplomatic engagements have expanded beyond its historical allies to include new partners, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Example: The Quad alliance comprising India, the United States, Japan, and Australia aims to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, reflecting India's strategic recalibration.
  • Economic Aspirations and Power Dynamics: India's robust economic growth and aspirations for global leadership have influenced its foreign policy priorities.
    • Example: Initiatives like the 'Make in India' campaign and participation in multilateral trade agreements signify India's ambition to enhance its economic stature on the world stage.
  • Security and Defense Cooperation: India's focus on bolstering its defense capabilities and security partnerships has reshaped its global positioning.
    • Example: Defense agreements with countries like the United States and France demonstrate India's proactive approach to safeguarding its interests in an evolving geopolitical landscape.
  • Multilateral Engagements: India's active involvement in multilateral forums reflects its desire to shape global discourse and policies.
    • Example: Leadership roles in organizations like the United Nations and participation in climate change initiatives highlight India's commitment to addressing global challenges.

Fact Box

  • India shares a 4,100-km-long border with Bangladesh. Bilateral trade between the countries exceeded USD 15 billion in 2021-22.
  • India is Bangladesh’s biggest trading partner.
  • Bangladesh depends on India for essential imports, including raw materials, machinery, and agricultural goods.
  • India gains from Bangladesh’s exports of its garments, textiles, and medicines.
  • International Forums where India and Bangladesh are Common Members
    • South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
    • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
    • Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORA)
  • Major Issues Between India and Bangladesh: Teesta River Water Dispute, illegal migration, trafficking, Rohingya Issue

UPSC PYQ

Q: “The long sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations has disappeared on account of its newfound role in the emerging global order”. Elaborate (UPSC 2019)

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