Bangladesh Geopolitics

Bangladesh Geopolitics

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is an independent democratic republic, part of the Commonwealth, and the third most populous country with a Muslim majority in the world, after Indonesia and Pakistan.

Eastern region of Pakistan until 1971, it achieved full independence following a war of secession fought with the support of India and ended on December 16, 1971, which caused about 3 million victims. Within the complex political balances of South Asia, Bangladesh has built its foreign policy mainly on relations with India and with the former ‘twin’ republic of Pakistan, often entering the gaps opened by the historic rivalry between these two. villages. The initial proximity between Bangladesh and India was followed by more unstable relations, often coinciding with the alternation of the executives who led Bangladesh: of the two main national parties, the Awami League (Al) is traditionally pro-Indian, while the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bnp) advocates a line of greater autonomy from the influential neighbor.

According to itypeusa, Bangladesh shares almost all of its land borders with India and hence the main reasons for the friction between the two countries. These tensions are partly linked to the demarcation of borders and the management of common water resources – first of all that of the Ganges River – and partly to problems relating to border security. A source of concern is the risk that Bangladesh could represent a free territory for separatist groups active in the north-eastern states of India. On this issue, in recent years, however, there has been greater collaboration than in the past, which led to the arrest and extradition of some members of the United Liberation Front of Asom. In the end, the problem of illegal immigration and illicit trafficking managed by cross-border networks of organized crime and fundamentalist groups is serious. To cope with this situation, New Delhi has built a fortified fence along the 4000km border with Bangladesh. After a period of strengthening following the Awami League’s rise to power in Bangladesh in 2010, relations between the two countries underwent a new cooling in spring 2014, following the establishment in India of the new government led by Bharatiya Janata. Party (Bjp). After a phase of adjustment, however, relations between the two countries seem to be heading towards a more peaceful coexistence, as evidenced by the visit made in June 2015 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which the two countries signed numerous bilateral contracts.

Relations with Pakistan were characterized by tensions in the phase immediately following the war of independence – in particular due to Islamabad’s attempts to obstruct the international recognition of the newborn state – which became a member of the United Nations only in 1974. Relations between the two countries however, they have progressively improved, especially from the point of view of commercial and cultural exchanges. In particular, the common Muslim identity of the two populations constitutes an element of significant closeness. The war of secession, in addition to having left some cracks on the domestic front – for example the death sentence imposed in September 2013 by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Abdul Quader Mollah, deputy secretary general of the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami, for crimes against humanity and in particular for the massacres of civilians during the conflict – still weighs heavily on bilateral relations with Pakistan. The questions of recognizing and ascertaining responsibility for the violence committed during the war – to judge which a special court is active in the country – as well as Bangladesh’s claim on shares of Pakistani national resources, which remained in the hands of Islamabad, still remain open. after the 1971 split.

Relations with China have also traditionally been of strategic importance for Dhaka, especially as a function of balancing with the natural Indian influence. In recent years, an increasingly intense collaboration has developed with Beijing on various levels: from military supplies to commercial exchanges, passing through the joint construction of important infrastructural works, including the development of the Chittagong port and the one on the island of Sonadia. Diplomatic relations with neighboring Myanmar are also good, as are those with the US,interested in the political stability of a country with an extraordinary geo-strategic position. In particular, there are intense financial and commercial exchanges with Washington, especially in relation to direct investments in the energy sector (natural gas and electricity) also favored by a Special Partnership Agreement signed between the two governments in November 2012 during the visit to the country the then Secretary of state USA Hillary Clinton. Dhaka also benefits from an important US aid program, which in 2012 reached a total sum of approximately 195 million dollars.

The first forty years of the country’s political life were characterized both by periods of stability and by phases of strong tensions, which resulted in repeated attempts at coups d’├ętat and the assassination of two presidents in office. The watershed for a decisive democratic consolidation was 1991, the year in which the regime of the dictator Hussain Mohammad Ershad was overthrown and a constitutional government re-established. Since then, the country’s political scene has been characterized by a substantial alternation of government between the two major national parties and by the contrast between the two women who are at the head of it: on the one hand Khaleda Zia (Bnp), widow of General Ziaur Rahman, who was head of government from 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006; on the other, the current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed (Al), daughter of former President Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman, who had already led the legislature from 1996 to 2001. Between 2006 and 2008, the country was led by a government military-backed provisional, which declared a state of national emergency following a wave of fundamentalist terrorist attacks (which occurred mainly in 2004-05) and an escalation of violent protests, linked to the preparation of the general elections: it was a two-year period that led to a very strong crackdown on corruption and nepotism of an entire political elite. The last elections, held in January 2014, were boycotted by the BNP, which therefore does not currently have representatives in parliament and which continues its campaign of denunciation against the electoral process and the Al through street demonstrations and acts of civil resistance.

An Islamist group is active in the country, Ansarullah Bangla Team (Abt), responsible for numerous attacks against secular activists and writers. Starting from 2014, then, the presence of several people accused of being part of the Islamic State (Is) group was reported. Since 2005, six Islamist groups have been outlawed by the police on charges of engaging in subversive activities.

Bangladesh Geopolitics