Bangladesh

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  • An Elected Government in Bangladesh and India's Options

    If all things go well, Bangladesh should have an elected government in January 2009 following the Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament) elections. Contrary to much scepticism, the caretaker government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed has embarked upon fulfilling its promise of holding free and fair elections on December 29, 2008. This caretaker government received groundswell support because it was viewed as an instrument of democracy in Bangladesh, something that the previously elected government was unable to deliver at the end of its tenure in 2006.

    December 23, 2008

    Oil Politics in the Bay of Bengal

    Hydrocarbon rich Bay of Bengal seems to be emerging as another centre of oil politics. This was recently manifested by a standoff between Myanmar and Bangladesh, when Dhaka sent three naval vessels to stop Myanmar from conducting exploration activities in their disputed Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The crisis has since been diffused, though it is far from over.

    November 27, 2008

    Re-emergence of the Military and the Future of Democracy in Bangladesh

    A military-backed caretaker government supported by the international community assumed power in Bangladesh on January 11, 2007, promising a corruption-free and clean democratic environment to usher in a new era in politics. It has introduced a series of electoral reforms and has taken action against the 'corrupt'. As Bangladesh is poised for parliamentary elections by the end of December, doubts remain about whether politics in Bangladesh will change for the better, however.

    November 2008

    HUJI as a Political Party: Where is Political Reform in Bangladesh Headed?

    The caretaker government in Bangladesh had assumed power with the objective of bringing about a new political culture in the country. This aim had made them decide upon a crackdown against corruption and the introduction of a slew of political reforms. One such reform was the need for all parties to abide by the constitution the non-registration of religion based parties.

    October 20, 2008

    Bangladesh's Relations with China and India: A Comparative Study

    China's influence in South Asia has significantly grown over the years, and in particular Bangladeshi-Chinese relations are now robust and very comprehensive. This is in contrast to Bangladeshi-Indian relations, which are extremely uneven. While the latter are substantial and not totally negative, in comparison to Bangladeshi-Chinese relations they are riddled with controversies. How does one explain this contrast, especially when China lacks the historic-cultural advantages and linkages that India has with Bangladesh?

    September 2008

    Bangladesh Remains Sensitive on the Issue of Connectivity

    Though the recent Indo-Bangladesh Foreign Secretary level talks held in New Delhi made significant progress on several issues, there was no forward movement on the issue of connectivity. Bangladesh remains reluctant to extend this facility to India, though bilateral relations have generally been trouble-free in the last two years.

    August 04, 2008

    Surging Energy and Food Prices will Accelerate Economic Downtrend in Bangladesh

    Rising food and oil prices worldwide have increased the misery of people in Bangladesh who have already been suffering the effects of near double digit inflation. The military backed caretaker government has been forced to increase the prices of oil products by 33 to 67 per cent with effect from July 1, 2008. Diesel and kerosene prices have been hiked by 37.5 per cent to 55 taka a litre (0.26 gallons) and petrol prices by 34 per cent to 87 taka a litre.

    July 30, 2008

    Will Bangladesh Address India’s Security Concerns?

    The spate of talks and meetings between India and Bangladesh is unmatched in recent times. This pace alone sets bilateral relations apart from the five long years when the BNP-led coalition government was in power (2000-05) in Bangladesh. The recent (July 17, 2008) Foreign Secretary level talks have once again brought home the fact of how the interim government in Bangladesh without having to pander to any particular constituency has been able to constructively engage with its largest neighbour.

    July 24, 2008

    Bangladesh: Fixing the Democratic Future

    The release of Sheikh Hasina on ‘parole’ for two months has generated hope for the stalled political dialogue and uncertainty over the scheduled Parliamentary elections in December 2008. The Awami League (AL) had earlier demanded the unconditional release of Hasina. But it appears that after hectic negotiations between some of the advisors of the Caretaker Government (CTG) and Hasina, a political understanding was worked out that ultimately saw her being freed. It has given hope to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) about the release of their leader as well from jail.

    June 16, 2008

    Flexibility in Political Dialogue Needed to Avert Chaos in Bangladesh

    In the ongoing mass arrests in Bangladesh, nearly 20,000 people have been put behind bars. These arrests started on May 28, 2008 after the ban on political activity was lifted. It was expected that after allowing political activity, the government will facilitate the electoral process leading to the holding of elections which were postponed in January 2007. But the mass arrests in the name of deteriorating law and order condition have made the political situation fluid.

    June 11, 2008

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