Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Bangladesh

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Bangladesh today, marking his first international trip since the outbreak of the COVID-19

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Photo: REUTERS

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Bangladesh today, marking his first international trip since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent years, New Delhi has invested significant effort towards increasing ties with Bangladesh. Specifically, New Delhi has supported initiatives like the launch of a fifth cross-border rail line and taken a conciliatory approach towards its neighbour on the sensitive litigation of territorial borders and delimitation of maritime borders in the Bay of Bengal. Additionally, Bangladesh has been the biggest beneficiary of Indian vaccine diplomacy, which was also extended to southern and central Asian nations like Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives. With the initiative, India hopes to rival China in its vaccine diplomatic efforts, spurred on by their tensions over influence in Asia.

Expect Modi to strengthen bilateral cooperation by signing memorandums of understanding in different areas to avoid a possible rapprochement of Bangladesh with China. This follows India’s larger strategy of engagement with its neighbours to neutralise ever-growing regional Chinese influence. It is likely New Delhi will seek to do so by increasing its aid towards Bangladesh’s development through investment and increased economic cooperation. Likewise, New Delhi and Dhaka have both expressed their will to strengthen the historical ties connecting them.

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