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India’s PM Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina clap during signing ceremony of agreements between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka

India-Bangladesh Relations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly through video conferencing unveiled e-plaques for multiple developmental projects in Bangladesh. These projects are aimed at boosting transport connectivity and knowledge connectivity between both countries and play key role in improving quality of life of people in Bangladesh.

These projects are

  • Supply of buses and trucks: They will assist efforts towards affordable public transportation.
  • 36 community clinics: They will help to provide affordable healthcare to around two lakh people, in Bangladesh.
  • 11 water treatment plants: They will help supply clean water to people of Bangladesh.
  • Extension of National Knowledge Network (NKN) to Bangladesh: It will help to connect scholars and research institutes in Bangladesh to India and world.

National Knowledge Network (NKN)

  • It is aimed at establishing strong and robust Indian network which will be capable of providing secure and reliable connectivity.
  • It was launched in 2010 with National Informatics Centre (NIC) as the implementing agency.
  • Objective: Its state of art multi-gigabit capability that aims to interconnect all institutions of higher learning and research with high speed data communication network to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaborative research.
  • Bring together all stakeholders from science, technology, higher education, healthcare, agriculture and governance to common platform.
  • It seeks to bridge existing knowledge gap in country and help country to evolve as Knowledge Society and also spur economic activities in the Knowledge domain.
  • Features: It facilitates advanced distance education in specialized fields like science, engineering, medicine etc. It also enables ultra-high speed e-Governance backbone. It also enables collaboration among researchers from international educational networks like CERN, TEIN4 etc.

Knowledge Diplomacy: India has extended this project to all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, excluding Pakistan.

India and Bangladesh Relations

India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. There is much that unites the two countries – a shared history and common heritage, linguistic and cultural ties, passion for music, literature and the arts. The two nations were strong allies during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. However, they developed different Cold War alliances in the late 1970s and 80s. With the onset of economic liberalization in South Asia, they forged greater bilateral engagement and trade. The historic Ganges Water Sharing Treaty was concluded in 1996. India and Bangladesh are close strategic partners in counter-terrorism. They are also the largest trading partners in South Asia.Two-way trade is estimated to be over US $7 billion.


A chronology of key events:

1947 – British colonial rule over India ends. A largely Muslim state comprising East and West Pakistan is established, either side of India. The two provinces are separated from each other by more than 1,500 km of Indian territory.

1949 – The Awami League is established to campaign for East Pakistan’s autonomy from West Pakistan.

1970 – The Awami League, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, wins an overwhelming election victory in East Pakistan. The government in West Pakistan refuses to recognise the results, leading to rioting. Cyclone hits East Pakistan – up to 500,000 people are killed.


1971 – Sheikh Mujib arrested and taken to West Pakistan. In exile, Awami League leaders proclaim the independence of the province of East Pakistan on 26th March. The new country is called Bangladesh. Just under 10 million Bangladeshis flee to India as troops from West Pakistan are defeated with Indian assistance.

1972 – Sheikh Mujib returns, becomes prime minister. He begins a programme of nationalising key industries in an attempt to improve living standards, but with little success.

1974 – Severe floods devastate much of the grain crop, leading to an estimated 28,000 deaths. A national state of emergency is declared as political unrest grows.

1975 – Sheikh Mujib becomes president of Bangladesh. The political situation worsens. He is assassinated in a military coup in August. Martial law is imposed.

1976 – The military ban trade unions.

1977 – General Ziaur Rahman assumes the presidency. Islam is adopted in the constitution.

1979 – Martial law is lifted following elections, which Zia’s Bangladesh National Party (BNP) wins.

1981 – Zia is assassinated during abortive military coup. He is succeeded by Abdus Sattar.

Ershad era

1982 – General Ershad assumes power in army coup. He suspends the constitution and political parties.

1983 – Limited political activity is permitted. Ershad becomes president.

1986 – Parliamentary and presidential elections. Ershad elected to a five-year term. He lifts martial law and reinstates the constitution.

1987 – State of emergency declared after opposition demonstrations and strikes.

1988 – Islam becomes state religion. Floods cover up to three-quarters of the country. Tens of millions are made homeless.

1990 – Ershad steps down following mass protests.

1991 – Ershad convicted and jailed for corruption and illegal possession of weapons. Begum Khaleda Zia, widow of President Zia Rahman, becomes prime minister. Constitution is changed to render the position of president ceremonial. The prime minister now has primary executive power. Cyclonic tidal wave kills up to 138,000.

Awami League returns

1996 – Two sets of elections eventually see the Awami League win power, with Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, becoming prime minister.

1997 – Ershad is released from prison. The opposition BNP begins campaign of strikes against the government.

1998 – Two-thirds of the country devastated by the worst floods ever. Fifteen former army officers sentenced to death for involvement in assassination of President Mujib in 1975.

2000 September – Sheikh Hasina criticises military regimes in a UN speech, prompting Pakistani leader General Musharraf to cancel talks with her. Relations strained further by row over leaked Pakistani report on 1971 war of independence.

2000 December – Bangladesh expels Pakistani diplomat for comments on the 1971 war. The diplomat had put the number of dead at 26,000, whereas Bangladesh says nearly three million were killed.

2001 April – Seven killed in bomb blast at a Bengali New Year concert in Dhaka. Sixteen Indian and three Bangladeshi soldiers killed in their worst border clashes.

2001 April – High Court confirms death sentences on 12 ex-army officers for killing Mujib. Only four are in custody.

2001 July – Hasina steps down, hands power to caretaker authority, becoming the first prime minister in the country’s history to complete a five-year term.

Coalition government

2001 September – At least eight people are killed and hundreds injured as two bombs explode at an election rally in south-western Bangladesh.

2001 October – Hasina loses at polls to Khaleda Zia’s Nationalist Party and its three coalition partners.

2002 July – Pakistani President Musharraf visits; expresses regret over excesses carried out by Pakistan during 1971 war of independence.

2004 Opposition calls 21 general strikes over the course of the year as part of a campaign to oust the government.

2004 May – Parliament amends constitution to reserve 45 seats for female MPs.

2004 August – Grenade attack on opposition Awami League rally in Dhaka kills 22 people. Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina survives the attack.

2006 February – Opposition Awami League ends year-long parliamentary boycott.

Political crisis

2006 October – Violent protests over government’s choice of a caretaker administration to take over when Premier Zia completes her term at the end of the month. President Ahmed steps in and assumes caretaker role for period leading to elections due in January 2007.

2006 November – A 14-party opposition alliance led by the Awami League campaigns for controversial election officials to be removed. Chief election commissioner MA Aziz steps aside.

2006 December – Election date set at 22 January. Awami alliance says it will boycott the polls. Awami leader Sheikh Hasina accuses President Ahmed of favouring her rival. Blockade aimed at derailing parliamentary elections paralyses much of the country.

2007 January – A state of emergency is declared amid violence in the election run-up. President Ahmed postpones the poll. Fakhruddin Ahmed heads a caretaker administration.

2007 March – Six Islamist militants convicted of countrywide bomb attacks in 2005 are hanged. They include the leaders of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.

2007 April – Sheikh Hasina is charged with murder. Begum Khaleda Zia is under virtual house arrest. Several other politicians are held in an anti-corruption drive.

2007 August – Government imposes a curfew on Dhaka and five other cities amid violent clashes between police and students demanding an end to emergency rule.

2008 June – Sheikh Hasina is temporarily freed to get medical treatment in the US.

2008 August – Local elections take place, seen as a big step towards restoring democracy. Candidates backed by the Awami League perform strongly.

2008 November – The authorities say general elections will be held on 18 December. Sheikh Hasina returns to lead her party in the poll.

Awami League win

2008 December – General elections: Awami League captures more than 250 of 300 seats in parliament. Sheikh Hasina is sworn in as prime minister in January.

2009 February – Around 74 people, mainly army officers, are killed in a mutiny in Dhaka by border guards unhappy with pay and conditions. Police arrest some 700 guards. A further 1,000 guards are detained in May.

2009 October – The government bans the local branch of the global Islamist organisation Hizb-ut Tahrir, saying it poses a threat to peace.

2010 January – Five former army officers are executed for the 1975 murder of founding PM Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

2012 May-June – Key figures from the main Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, including leader Motiur Rahman Nizami, are charged with war crimes by a government tribunal investigating alleged collaboration with Pakistan during the 1971 independence struggle.

2012 October – Muslim rioters attack Buddhist villages and shrines in south-east Bangladesh after an image said to show a burnt Koran was posted on Facebook. The government denounces the attacks as “premeditated and deliberate acts of communal violence against a minority”.

2013 January – War crimes tribunal sentences prominent Muslim cleric Abul Kalam Azad to death for crimes against humanity during the 1971 independence war. He was tried in absentia, as he had fled abroad.

2013 April – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vetoes Islamist bill to outlaw criticism of Islam.

2013 May – European retailers promise to sign an accord to improve safety conditions in factories after a garment factory building collapsed in April, killing more than 1,100 people. Worker protests close hundreds of factories and extract a government pledge to raise the minimum wage and make it easier to form unions.

Jamaat-e-Islami trials

2013 July – At least two people are killed as police clash with thousands of protesters after the conviction of Ghulam Azam, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. Ghulam Azam dies in October 2014.

2013 December – Supreme Court upholds death sentence on Islamist leader Abdul Kader Mullah of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, who was convicted in February of crimes against humanity during the 1971 war of independence.

2014 January – Opposition BNP boycotts parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returns for third term in office.

2014 October – Jamaat-e-Islami Leader Motiur Rahman Nizami and another leading figure, Mir Quasem Ali, found guilty of war crimes during independence war in 1971.

2015 February – Court sentences another senior Jamaat-e-Islami figure, Abdus Subhan, to death for war crimes committed during independence war in 1971.

2015 May – Bangladesh bans Islamist militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team, which claims responsibility for killing and assaulting several pro-secular public figures.

2015 November – Threats to Christians and Shia Muslims challenge government view that two years of attacks on pro-secular public figures are the work of a violent faction of the opposition Jaamat-e-Islami party, after the Islamic State armed group claims responsibility for attack on Shia mosque. Jamaat-e-Islami senior figures Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury executed on war crimes charges dating back to 1971.

2016 July – The Islamic State group claims an attack on a cafe in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter in which 20 hostages, including 18 foreigners, are killed but the government rejects the claim saying the militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen was responsible.

2016 September – Business tycoon and senior leader of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, Mir Quasem Ali, is executed for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence.

2018 September- the premiers of the two neighboring countries  jointly inaugurated the construction of 130 km Bangladesh-India Friendship Pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal and Parbatipur in Dinajpur and the third and fourth dual gauge rail line between Dhaka and Tongi and Tongi and Joydevpur sections of Bangladesh Railway.

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