Cowconomy and a Tale of Fragile Friendship -By Mohammad Azizul Hoque

Article, National

Bangladesh-India trading tie is often supposed to be “Tom and Jerry” unfriendly play, a less rational but more egocentric disputes. Unfortunately an orthodoxy but unpopular cattle-line austerity between Bangladesh and India boarder deters to dense friendship between two nations. Unfortunately India’s often Big-Brotherly attitudes deteriorating rest of many aspects of bilateral relation. Albeit when European nations and South East Asian countries are making immense economic progress through mutual cooperation and collaboration we South Asian countries remain busy triggering egocentric disputes and mutual hatred, a slope down move indeed.


The diffraction into ties has newly escalated Just before Eid-Ul-Azha, Muslim 2nd large religious festival, in last year 2015, when India has interdicted the cattle trading with Bangladesh with Indian Home-minister Rajnath Singh’s a capricious speech about absolute shut down of beef trade with Bangladesh. Recently He shouted that he is pleased and happy to see the Bangladesh is facing beef crisis and the increment of price of commodities for more than 30-40% — reported by Reuters. Calcutta based The Daily Telegraph reported that (March 30, 2016) ― Mr. Singh’s controversial decision on cattle trading adversely affecting Indians own economy where beef business is the prime means of livelihood for thousands of Indians farmers. Ironically after India’s ban on cattle exporting, Bangladesh faced a short run scarcity in supply of beef, but in long run it helps the country to be self-dependent through home grown cattle. Recently Bangladesh government provides remarkable soft loan exclusively to cattle farming that would boost the sector gradually.

Nevertheless it is regrettably that the friendship between the two nations was never bloomed as like “Win-Win” trade off instant of “Zero-sum game”. Professor Muchkund Dubey, Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh during 1979-1982, said in an interview with The Daily Prothom Alo (on April 13, 2016) that—In fact, Bangladesh did much more than the Indians dared to dream. Soon after the Sheikh Hasina government came to office, Dhaka handed to Indian seven top wanted ULFA insurgents who were in Bangladeshi custody. Thereafter, Sheikh Hasina repeatedly stated in public that Bangladesh would not allow its land to be used to harm India. In guaranteeing India about its security apprehension, Sheikh Hasina did not seek any reciprocity. Nonetheless India did not provide single remarkable advantage to Bangladesh after 1972.

Surprisingly Bangladesh still keeps retain sabotaging act of giving to its friend. For instance in July 13, 2016 Bangladesh provides transit facilities to India without Tista-Water-Sharing-Treaty. Under the treaty India can use 500 km of Bangladeshi territory named “The India-Bangladesh waterways transit”, to carrying Indian goods from Kolkata to Tripura. The transit would reduce large transportation cost substantially to carry goods as the distance reduces from about 1,700 km via Siliguri in north Bengal to about 500 km via Bangladesh.

Unfortunately Just after few days of this gala grand by Bangladesh, Bangladesh’s (so called) friend India opens all sluice gats of Farakka dam against Bangladesh in this monsoon season that rapidly creates inundation across Bangladesh where approximately 70% Villages besides Padma river bank goes under Indian water. Bangladeshi Info-minister Hasanul Haq Inu remarked that—it is often observed that India withdraws water from joined international rivers unilaterally during summer season and opens the sluice gates of dams like Farakka Barrage during monsoon that is unfair. Consequentially Bangladesh goes under Indian flood water thru rainy season and during dry season Bangladeshi Farmland goes drought. Nota Bane So far India built several dams against about 54 Bangladesh-India joint rivers that is sharp violation of International convention.

It is occurring due to Bangladesh government’s traditional generosity and sensitiveness to its neighbor. Elsewhere political analysts think Bangladesh’s all successive governments failed to play a balanced diplomatic negotiation indeed due to ruling party’s genuflected foreign policy and infertile diplomatic intellectuality. Infect conventionally Bangladesh is a peace-loving country which foreign policy based on “Friendship to all and malice to none”.

Nevertheless India’s such dogmatic and unilateral stand adversely upsetting two countries’ long cultivated bilateral relation. Unexpectedly within the last four decades Indian administration adversely seeks to bull roughly over Bangladesh. For instance killing of Bangladeshi national at boarder by Indian Boarder security force (BSF) yet unstop. Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said that 146 Bangladeshis were killed by BSF in the past four years and Human Rights Watch estimates 1,000 people were killed between 2001 and 2011 by BSF, reported by International Business Times.

FILE - In this July 17, 2006 file photo, Border Security Force soldiers patrol the India-Pakistan border at Kanachak, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of Jammu, India. Pakistan and India traded accusations Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, of violating the cease-fire in the disputed northern region of Kashmir, with Islamabad accusing Indian troops of a cross-border raid that killed one of its soldiers and India charging that Pakistani shelling destroyed a home on its side. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)

Indians all satellite channels openly broadcasted with free of charge in Bangladesh elsewhere none of Bangladesh channel can be broadcasted in India. Indian all sorts of products get free access to Bangladeshi domestic market except all Bangladeshi products. Unlike The “Win-Win” solution in bilateral trade-off, the “Zero-Sum-Game” is supposed to be detrimental to longitudinal relation. Living with neighbor with mutual support and respect is a key to accelerate socio-economic advancement and fixing global terrorism in this region. Importantly neither big brotherly attitude nor genuflected approach perturbs Bangladesh but conversely exposed India as a doctrinaire, orthodoxy state to the world.

Elsewhere Bangladesh Government’s weak trade policy and uniaxial exporting approach are sufficiently responsible behind catastrophe of common goods. Besides the dearth of anticipatory intellectuality, infertility in innovation, limited participation by stakeholders and noncooperation by opposition holding back Bangladesh to move forward fast. Alongside Bangladesh foreign policy bitterly influenced by ruling party’s political vision, affiliation and similarity with neighboring countries that adversely confined the country to be universal and dynamic to maximize opportunities. Therefore if the “Zero-Sum game” going on than the public perception against true verses false friendship will escalate.

The writer is research fellow at Bangladesh Initiative for political Development (BIPD) and pursuing Post graduation in Public Administration at the University of Dhaka.