- Dec 3, 2017
A lot has happened since. First, New Delhi stayed away from the 2018 Bangladesh election despite many signals from Dhaka for help. Dhaka reminded that it was in more desperate need for New Delhi’s assistance in 2018 than in 2014. Second, Dhaka turned to China for help and received it. More importantly, the Awami League returned to power without having to thank India. Third, Sheikh Hasina removed many pro-Indian heavyweights from her new cabinet. Fourth, India downgraded her October 2019 visit to New Delhi from a state visit she was given in 2010 and 2017 to an official visit. Fifth, New Delhi, ignored her visit to Kolkata in November 2019.
Two recent developments and a flurry of reports in the Indian media jolted New Delhi’s complacency. First was China’s $1 billion offer for ‘a comprehensive management and restoration project of the Teesta’, the river over which Bangladesh was deeply unhappy with India that Indian Express described as ‘China twist in India-Bangladesh Teesta river challenge.’ The second was Chinese ambassador in Dhaka’s gifts for Khaleda Zia on her birthday that underlined how deeply China has entrenched itself in Bangladesh to feel comfortable with such a decision ignoring Sheikh Hasina’s sensitivity. These developments expedited New Delhi’s hasty decision to send its foreign secretary to Dhaka, perhaps, believing it would help to woo Sheikh Hasina away from China.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s Dhaka visit has misfired for many reasons. First Indian arrogance again led New Delhi to take the AL government for granted. Second, New Delhi failed to acknowledge that Sheikh Hasina is now dealing with India on the China issue with vast majority of the people behind her. Finally, China is on the cusp of emerging as the world’s number one power and Bangladesh has moved much deeper in its relations with China that is its sovereign right.
This is good news. I've posted a better map. The waterway enters through Sonamura in the the Sepahijala district. Most of the waterway travel happens in Bangladesh. Sonamura is very close to the border, from there on the cargo will be loaded on to trucks and road transported. Road transport infrastructure is pretty good on those parts. Frankly roads have gotten a whole lot better everywhere in the state in the last few years. I have travelled extensively in the West Tripura, Sepahijala, Gomati and South Tripura districts. New bridges, better roads, new construction everywhere. I haven't travelled anywhere in the Northern direction though, so can't say about that.