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Exercises including Bangladeshi and Indian troops to begin


Exercises including Bangladeshi and Indian troops to begin

India-Bangladesh Military Exercises
Photo: PTI

India will take part in the nine-day Shantir Ogroshena military exercises in Bangladesh beginning today.

India has sent 30 army officers and soldiers to join military personnel from Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Observers from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, the UK and the US will also attend.

India’s participation in the military exercises is likely part of an effort to improve Indo-Bangladeshi relations. Bilateral ties were strained in 2019 after India passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has advertised the CAA as protection for religious minorities from persecution they face in neighboring countries. Bangladesh was disturbed by the implication that it was harming religious minorities. Further, Bangladesh worried that India would use the NRC to expel Muslim immigrants ultimately leading to an influx of refugees to the country.

The Indian state elections in West Bengal and Assam are likely to be a critical event for Indo-Bangladeshi relations in the short term. If the BJP gains power in these regions, the party would be able to move ahead with CAA’s implementation and expel Muslim residents. Bangladesh is currently overwhelmed with Rohingya refugees from Myanmar seeking asylum and would struggle to support immigrants from India.

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