The non-implementation of many treaties signed between Bangladesh and India is the major problem in terms of the bilateral relations, said panel discussants at the first ever India-Bangladesh High Commissioners’ Summit at Dhaka University yesterday.
Terming the summit, which was organised by Dhaka University’s Department of International Relations in collaboration with India-Bangladesh Foundation, “brilliant and unique”, Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said: “The relationship between two countries has passed the test of time.”
“India’s new government is positive towards our government. There were many ups and downs in the past and yet, the bilateral relations has reached such a level that it will now continue to blossom only and the rest of the world is very eager to see it,” he said.
In the second part of the day-long programme yesterday, former high commissioners from India and Bangladesh discussed many problems, crisis, challenges and possibilities regarding the relations between the two countries in future.
The programme was divided into three sessions, Session 1 was on lessons from the past where seven speakers participated, Session 2 on contemporary challenges and hurdles and Session 3 on India-Bangladesh relations and its future, in which five speakers took part.
Speaking at the Session 2, Veena Sikri, who served as Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh from March 1995-July 2000, said: “Foreign policy begins at home. India’s economic growth is dependent on the inter connection with its neighboring countries very much.
“But the problem is that though many treaties were signed, they are yet to be signed.”
Humayun Kabir, who served as deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh to Kolkata from 1999-2001, said: “One of the difficulties we have seen is that we have separate concept regarding our national securities. On the other hand, the people of my generation had the idea about India’s contribution to our Liberation War in 1971 but many questions come to our young generation at present.”
“What do our young generation in both countries think about the bilateral relationship when they see border killing, no improvement of our water treaties along with many other issues? This is high time to think of establishing a strong bilateral relationship,” he opined.
In the last session, Pinak R Chakravaraty, who was Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh from 2007-2009, said: “The future relationship will be dependent on security, radicalism, intelligence cooperation, cyber security, trade, maritime exploration, connectivity and industrial corridor among India-Bangladesh-Myanmar as Myanmar is now doing very well.”
He added: “E-retailing is another major concern for both countries as through e-retailing both governments are deprived of tax and revenue.”
Being current Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Pankaj Saran refused to make any comment on the bilateral relations and its future though he was present there as one of the speakers.
Among the former high commissioners of Bangladesh to India, Faruq Ahmed Chowdhury, Harun ur Rashid, Tariq Karim, Mostafa Faruque Mohammed, Hemayetuddin were present.
Among the Indian high commissioners to Bangladesh, IP Khosla, IS Chadha, Deb Mukharji, Rajeet Mitter attended the programme.