India’s ties with Bangladesh are also significant in terms of trade, which touched $10 billion last year. Even though it is highly skewed towards India — in a 9:1 ratio — Bangladesh’s largest item of import from India is cloth and yarn, which has powered that nation’s huge exports of ready-made textiles across the world. India also imports several of Bangladesh’s industrial and agricultural items. Our neighbour in turn relies on our agricultural produce. So India’s sudden ban on the export of onion, after a price spike back home, has become a major stumbling block to furthering relations between the two countries. If Indians thought that a 1,000 per cent increase in onion prices was bad, prices for the same crop have gone up 3,000 per cent in the neighbouring country, where the Government has resorted to airlifting onions.
But crisis like onions, the occasional border skirmish and issues surrounding the sharing of waters from the Teesta river cannot hide the remarkable progress India has made with Bangladesh on the diplomacy and security front, particularly in joint-policing and intelligence efforts. And that has bolstered trade being conducted through waterways. Systems have been put in place at the Benapole-Petrapole border crossing, which have made customs clearances faster for trucks. New train crossings and services will smoothen trade further between the two nations. A recent deal to sell power to Bangladesh has eased the power situation in that country dramatically. India could use the grid in Bangladesh to send electricity to power growth in its own States like Assam.
India’s digital start-ups, with their expertise in several areas as well as access to global venture capital, can look at the Bangladeshi market with significant demand for online commerce. Indian airlines, too, can expand their services to Bangladesh where there is major demand for medical tourism. This is an attractive prospect for India’s burgeoning hospital chains.
source: Daily Pioneer