obstacles and bureaucratic hassles are major hurdles in fostering
relations between India and Bangladesh leading to distrust,
underdevelopment and non-execution of a range of bilateral issues,
international experts said here Friday.
The experts, including former diplomat Veena Sikri, international
transport expert M. Rahmatullah, Dhaka University professor
Meshbah Kamal and Tripura University professor Indraneel Bhowmik
asserted that vested interests were active both in India and
"People with vested interests are seriously affecting legal and
normal economic activity between the two close neighbours. We are
very poor in implementation of decisions. There are huge
unexecuted decisions on both sides," the experts opined at a
Former diplomat and scholar Sikri said corporates, businessmen,
traders, media, academicians, scholars, researchers and people,
specially the youth, must get involved in the dialogue, otherwise
it would get distorted.
The two-day seminar titled "Northeast India in Transition: Tripura
- the Commerce and Connectivity Corridor between India and
Bangladesh" was organised by Kolkata-based Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
Institute of Asian Studies, an institution under the central
government's Ministry of Culture.
"Teesta river water sharing, Manipur's Tipaimukh hydel power
project, transit and connectivity issues can be expected to be
resolved in the near future, if the national leaders of both
countries, with the concerned stake holders' support, continue
talks at all possible levels," the former Indian envoy stated.
"Following the visit of the prime ministers of the two countries
to each other's nations, issues relating to enclaves, boundary,
trade and business have been resolved to a large extent. For
pending unsettled issues, both sides must continue talks," stated
Sikri, a fellow of New Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia university.
Referring to China-Bangladesh relations, Sikri said: "China has no
people-to-people relations with any countries, not even with
Pakistan. China has been developing its relations in its own way.
It (China) has only strategic, administrative, diplomatic
relations with many nations."
Dhaka University professor Meshbah Kamal exhorted the restoration
of old and historical ties and connectivity between the two
"We cannot change our geography, but we can revive or correct our
history for the benefit of the people of the region," Kamal said
and suggested that the two countries jointly celebrate poet Kazi
Nazrul Islam's birth centenary, involving common people and
International transport policy expert M. Rahmatullah observed that
unless connectivity was reinforced, the relationship could not be
"A joint transport company can be formed to carry men, material
and goods to make easier the whole system," said Rahmatullah,
former director of the Bangkok-based United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
He said that if the transit through Bangladesh-northeast India and
neighbouring countries was allowed, both time and cost would be
reduced to a large extent.
Renowned economist and former parliamentarian Nitish Sengupta has
suggested setting up more financial institutions, diplomatic and
administrative offices by India and Bangladesh in each other's
Tripura University professor Indraneel Bhowmik said more
livelihood schemes are necessary for the poor people of this
region comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.
Senior journalist Jayanta Bhattacharya said increased cultural
ties and joint performance would bring the people of the region
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)