By Kathryn Jacques (auth.)
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Additional resources for Bangladesh, India and Pakistan: International Relations and Regional Tensions in South Asia
While Bangladesh may be far less capable than either India or Pakistan of waging a military campaign to settle an issue as vexing as the Farakka barrage, frustration and violence could be manifested in a number of other ways, such as mass demonstrations or support for rebel groups, either Indian or Bangladeshi. Like the effects of the Kashmir issue on Indo–Pakistan relations, disagreement over Farakka has continually marred Indo–Bangladesh relations up to the present day, being a focus of rhetoric, recrimination, political manoeuvring and, in Bangladesh’s case, fear, defying long-term resolution and generally curbing any long-term warming of those relations.
119 Ershad’s foreign policy also resembled that of Zia regarding foreign aid for Bangladesh. 120 Bangladesh’s extreme poverty, economic instability and aid dependency have directly and indirectly fuelled and reinforced Indian fears of external interference in the region. These fears have been justified to the extent that severe and worsening economic problems exist in Bangladesh which is, in turn, indebted towards and dependent on assistance from states external to the region. 121 Whether or not the aid was forthcoming, Zia and Ershad were sending a clear message to India that their foreign policy leanings favoured Pakistan.
These shortcomings have resulted in a tendency for analysts to gloss over Janata achievements and to regard the regime as a welcome but ephemeral respite from the essentially dynastic character of the Indian government. The following comment about the Farakka issue typifies the commonly held opinion that the Janata regime’s contribution provided little of lasting substance in resolving the dispute: The water treaty of 1977, an Agreement of the two countries to agree on the question of the best means of augmentation of the Ganga within a fixed period of 5 years ended without any consensus of the two parties.
Bangladesh, India and Pakistan: International Relations and Regional Tensions in South Asia by Kathryn Jacques (auth.)