India-Bangladesh political relations during the Awami League Government, 1972-75




Hassan, Shaukat

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This study deals with the nature and content of I ndia-Bang1adesh political relations during the period 1972-75, when the Awami League Government was in power in Bangladesh. The Government of India had assisted the League, first, in bringing about the secession of East Pakistan and, subsequently, in consolidating its political power in the new State. This gave rise to a number of allegations in Bangladesh against the League Government, namely, that in seeking Indian military assistance to rid Bangladesh of the Pakistan Army, it had reached secret understandings with India which were inimical to Bangladesh's Interests; that it subsequently became a subaltern to Indian interests; and that Bangladesh's sovereignty was undermined by its political intimacy with New Delhi. In the process of assessing the validity of these allegations, the thesis has sought to answer a larger and a more important question: What were the causes behind the deterioration of political relations between India and Bangladesh by 1975, after an euphoric start In 1972? As a theoretical tool the concept of influence relationship has been used in this study, where influence has been defined as follows: influence is manifested when A (the Indian leadership) affects, through non-coercive means, directly or indirectly, the behaviour of B (the Bangladesh leadership) in the hope that it redounds to the policy advantage of A, and vice versa. Such a theoretical tool has necessitated the treatment of only selective instances of bilateral relations between them; only those Issues where influence could have operated in either direction have been chosen for examination. The thesis comprises nine chapters in which are discussed, intev alia, the following issues: the Indo-Bang1adesh friendship treaty; the Bangladesh Army; the Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini; the border trade agreement; land border and maritime boundary delimitation talks; oil exploration in the Bay of Bengal; and the Ganges waters dispute. The findings of this study do not support any of the allegations stated above. While the Tajuddin Government did accommodate the Indira Government during the crisis period, and was also willing to kowtow to it subsequently, Mujib was generally steadfast In his unwillingness to compromise on Bangladesh's national interests. The study also finds that the gradual collapse in Indo-Bang1adesh political relations was a direct corollary of the League leadership's political myopia, administrative ineptitude and its proprietary attitude that characterized its rule in Bangladesh. While India does not stand exonerated, the League must bear the lion's share of the blame for the deterioration in that relationship.






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