IPAG and the leading English newspaper of Bangladesh, The Daily Star jointly organized a one-day dialogue forum on “Bangladesh-India Relations: Progress made and the Challenges ahead” on September 17, 2016 in Dhaka.
Noteworthy strides have been made in the bilateral relations between India and Bangladesh since last year’s visit to Bangladesh by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 6-7, 2015. Breakthroughs like the Land Boundary Agreement, steps by both the governments to stem cross-border terrorism, growth of cross-border trade and major investment projects are taking the friendship to new heights. As India is aspiring for global eminence and Bangladesh becomes a middle income country, the partnership between the two neighbors are converting into a strategic alliance. While there are substantive reasons for the momentum to sustain, the challenges must also need to be weighed carefully and the opportunities require careful and coordinated efforts to generate positive results.
The dialogue provided a platform to have threadbare discussions on issues important for Bangladesh- India relationship. It aimed at making a positive contribution in strengthening the bilateral relationship between the countries. Government officials at a minister level, diplomats, civil society representatives, academicians, and well-respected media outlets from Bangladesh and India.
Bangladesh Finance Minister A.M Abdul Muhith and Economic Adviser to Prime Minister Dr. Mashiur Rahman and many other prominent speakers shared their insight in the program.
The topic of the sessions and a detailed list of participants is below:
Session I – Economic Aspects: Trade, Investment, Connectivity and Energy
Moderator: Mahfuz Anam, Editor and Publisher, The Daily Star
- Rajeet Mitter, Former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh
- Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)
- Pankaj Tandon, Member, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) & Vice President, KEC
- Arif Dowla, Managing Director, ACI Limited
- M Tamim , Petroleum and Mineral Resources Engineering, BUET
- Nitya Nanda, Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
Session II – Strategic Affairs: Border & Security, Water & Environment, Regional & Multilateral Issues
Moderator: Mr. Syed Munir Khasru, Chairman, IPAG.
- Gen. Shahedul Anam, ndc, psc (Retd.), Editor, Op-Ed and Strategic Affairs, The Daily Star
- Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic & Strategic Affairs Editor, The Hindu
- Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Research, BRAC University
- Ashok Malik, Distinguished Fellow & Head of Neighborhood Regional Studies Initiative, Observer Research Foundation (ORF)
- Imtiaz Ahmed, International Relations, University of Dhaka
- Smruti S Pattanaik, Research Fellow, The Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA)
The interactive discussions brought out some key points that will strengthen the relationship between the countries. For example, introducing separate technical and political bodies for solving water issues, improvising and standardizing the customs at land ports, managing border than controlling it etc.
A summary of the sessions of the dialogue and some key recommendations that came forth during the dialogue are in the report below.