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Dhaka Tribune

News analysis: Dhaka-Delhi ties not to be affected by BJP win

It goes without saying that the majority of the people of Bangladesh was pulling for others than BJP, a party, they consider as a communal one

Update : 24 May 2019, 11:19 AM

People of India, the largest democracy in the world, have spoken. And, they have, indeed, spoken quite clearly by providing a resounding mandate to right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its partners, led by incumbent Prime Minister Narandra Modi to govern India for another five years. This is for the first time BJP-led alliance NDA will form successive governments in the centre. Modi is also going to be the first BJP leader to become the Prime Minister of the world’s second largest populated country for the second time.

Despite having problems in dealing with issues like economy, especially rural economy, unemployment and demonetisation during the outgoing tenure, the BJP and its partners have been able to achieve the reelection by convincing the majority of the people in India that they are still the force that can govern the country better than others including All India Congress Party, led by Rahul Gandhi, which could not perform as many expected. The right-wing alliance also won hearts of many electorates by promoting Hindu nationalism, which runs counter to secular nature of India for most of the time since its independence in 1947.

In last five years, it is alleged that Hindu extremism has been on the rise resulting in ill-treatment of minorities, especially the Muslims, who constitute 14 per cent of the country’s population. Dozens of Muslims have been lynched during the outgoing tenure of Modi on suspicion of consuming or storing beef and the government has always been lenient in dealing with the perpetrators of those crimes.   

However, this time Modi already said that his upcoming government would work for an inclusive India. From his statement, the minorities might get some hope that every citizen would be treated equally from now on. It goes without saying that a government that aspires to govern considering all of its citizens equally is not only good for India but also for the wider world especially its neighbours.  

The seven weeks-long election in seven phases drew world attention. It is not because India is the largest democracy in the world. It is also the sixth largest economy of the globe. So, people across the world were keen about the election. And, Bangladesh, with which India shares the longest border, has not been any exception about the poll in its next door neighbour.

It goes without saying that the majority of the people of Bangladesh was pulling for others than BJP, a party, they consider as a communal one. And, such a party in power will not good for Bangladesh.

But, as far as the relationship between governments in Dhaka and Delhi, there is no possibility of any change, at least in the near future.

Of course, senior diplomats and international affairs experts had been saying before the elections that whoever comes to power in Delhi, the relationship is not going to be affected as the present government has experience of dealing with both the NDA and the United Progressive Alliance, led by the Congress. And, so far, it is smooth sailing, claim the government hierarchies, which is contradicted by many, who tend to suggest Bangladesh always gets less from India that it gives.

However, international affairs experts observe that there may be a substantial change in the relationship if there is a new government in Dhaka that is extremely unlikely.

It is also expected that all the agreements and projects signed between the two countries will proceed unhindered.

Although, the reelection of NDA will no problem in terms of government-to-government engagements, it may create a problem for Bangladesh if appropriate measures and awareness programmes are not taken. That problem is that the radical elements in the country may try to take the advantage of the reelection of the right-wing alliance in Delhi.

And, to make the matter even worse, the ruling alliance is now stronger than ever before in all five Indian states – West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram – that border Bangladesh.  

So, Bangladesh will, now, have to be more careful and will have to work harder to keep those people at bay. Measures should be taken so that few radical elements cannot unsettle the country’s exemplary communal harmony in the name of instances in Bangladesh’s first neighbour. An awareness programme should be in place to make people understand what happens in India is a matter for them. Let them deal with their problems. Bangladesh will keep on making its best possible endeavour to treat and honour every citizen as equals.

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