Tensions have risen between India and Bangladesh ever since Dhaka blocked New Delhi’s initiative to grant visas on arrival for its citizens. However, what we don’t realize is that our divide goes far beyond a visa issue; there are several other issues both countries face due to their strained relationship. While there is no one simple solution that can solve our problems, here are four ways to ease tensions and make our relationship stronger than ever before.
What do Bangladeshi think about Pakistan?
The India-Bangladesh friendship is rooted in a shared history and geographical proximity. At one time, Pakistan was an extension of that friendship. But these days, many Bangladeshis say they feel more affinity toward Pakistan than they do toward India. If you ask them why, they’ll say it’s because of what they consider to be unfair treatment by their larger neighbor to the north. Over 400,000 Bangladeshi nationals have been illegally detained in Indian prisons since 2013 on charges of entering India without a valid passport and visa—or for crossing over into India’s northeastern state of Assam without proper documentation.
What do Pakistani think about Bangladesh?
A survey by a leading Pakistani newspaper shows that most Pakistanis believe India is pushing their country into a war with its historic rival. The survey also revealed that 86 percent of Pakistanis view India unfavorably, as opposed to 83 percent just two years ago. The continuing tension and strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad have pushed many Pakistanis to side with Dhaka. Another surprising revelation was made about how East-Pakistan (now Bangladesh) separation in 1971 is perceived in the country; only 14 percent expressed regret over it, while more than 50 percent expressed satisfaction at seeing it gone. Pakistan has been in conflict with India since 1947, when Britain’s partition plan divided South Asia into Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India after both countries gained independence from colonial rule.