Developments in Bangladesh’s relations with India and Pakistan – The Diplomat
Bangladesh’s relations with India and Pakistan have known reverse cycles of friendship and hostility.
Pakistani Lieutenant-General AAK Niazi signing the Instrument of Surrender as Indian Lieutenant-General JS Aurora watched on December 16, 1971.
Credit: Indian Armed Forces
The emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation marked a turning point in the early 1970s. The nation’s founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, declared independence from Bangladesh on March 26, 1971. Eventually, Bangladesh became a nation free from the brutality of the Pakistani regime. The birth of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971 was influenced by the dynamics of the Cold War era. Bipolarity, alliance building, the non-aligned movement and liberation struggles in the Third World were important factors that shaped the directions and outcomes of the Bangladesh Liberation War. The country’s diplomatic journey to the height of the Cold War began in the maze of subcontinent politics, deeply influenced by the dynamics of the 1947 partition. Events related to the Bangladesh Liberation War provide a historical basis. and solid philosophical for contemporary Bangladesh’s relations with India and Pakistan.
Bangladesh received critical support from different nations for the liberation cause. Such support helped defeat the forces and propaganda against the establishment of the Bangladeshi state. India was a leading external power in supporting the emergence of a free and independent Bangladesh.
For Bangladesh, the conduct of foreign policy during the Cold War and post-Cold War era was deeply difficult. For the past 50 years, India and Pakistan have featured prominently in Bangladesh’s foreign policy, demonstrating complex cyclical patterns of interstate relations.
Bilateral relations with India: the beginning
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, often referred to as Mujib, laid the foundation for bilateral Bangladesh-India relations as he returned to Dhaka from a Pakistani prison on January 10, 1972. Recognizing Bangladesh on December 6, 1971, India established the way to a bright future in Bangladesh-India relations. A watermark of Mujib’s state of mind was reflected during his visit to Calcutta from February 6 to 8, 1972. During the visit, a joint statement between the two countries announced the withdrawal of Indian troops from Bangladesh. by March 25 of the same year.
Besides recognizing friendship and mutual interests, India and Bangladesh have focused on certain principles to shape their bilateral relationship. Inside, the principles of socialism, democracy, nationalism and secularism and outside, the principles of anti-imperialism, non-alignment and peaceful coexistence have guided the parameters of relations. Bangladesh-India at the very beginning.
But Mujib’s assassination on August 15, 1975 plunged bilateral relations with India into a period of obscurity and hostility. The rise to power of General Zia, after a bloody coup, disrupted the healthy development of Bangladesh-India relations.