Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to conclude visit to Bangladesh on 50th Victory Day

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will conclude his attendance at Bangladesh’s 50th Victory Day celebrations today. In celebration of 50

Mehedi Hasan Dhaka Tribune

Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will conclude his attendance at Bangladesh’s 50th Victory Day celebrations today.

In celebration of 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence, Kovind met with Bangladeshi leaders to reaffirm India’s commitment to the countries’ bilateral ties.

India provides a third of its aid to Bangladesh in line with its “Neighborhood First” policy, including two million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine in January—known locally as CoviShield.

Bangladesh is also India’s largest trade partner in South Asia, with trade increasing amidst the pandemic from $9.46 billion in 2019 to $10.78 billion this year. Yet Bangladesh-China trade amounted to $12.09 billion in 2020, with Bangladeshi exports worth just $0.6 billion.

Expect India to expand its trade with Bangladesh as part of efforts to match China’s financial assistance to South Asian countries, China’s presence at ASEAN summits and Sino-Pakistani ties.

India is pushing for economic expansion in the Indo-Pacific under its “Act East” policy, including plans to complete the Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link this year.

In the long-term however, improving cultural and economic ties under Neighborhood First and Act East will prove difficult as many in Bangladesh see India’s domestic policies under Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi as Islamophobic.

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