This daily column includes Gateway House’s Badi Soch – big thought – of the day’s foreign policy events. Today’s Badi Soch looks at how secularism is faring in South Asia.
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The youth of Bangladesh, a generation born well after 1971, are now demanding long overdue accountability, secularism, and neighbourly friendship. If the movement is successful, Bangladesh will have shown all South Asian countries that to transcend the past it is necessary to be transparent and secular.
Recently, there have been an increased number of high-level interactions between the leaderships in India and Bangladesh. Why is it imperative for New Delhi to engage with Dhaka on Track II tiers, and involve West Bengal in the process, to improve the relationship?
The life-sentence awarded by Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal to Abdul Molla – for heinous war crimes committed in 1971 – has been met with widespread protests. Why is the successful conclusion of the ongoing war crimes trial important for Bangladesh’s evolution as a nation state?
Both India and Bangladesh presently face a problem of acute arsenic problem of ground-water in the Bengal basin. Although Bangladesh suffers greater losses than India, the collective numbers are huge, and there is an immediate need for the two to employ environmental diplomacy and solve the problem.
Domestic politics are impacting overall SAARC relations. As the largest SAARC economy, we must strive to minimise differences with our neighbours by understanding how they perceive our policies, and uphold the promise of this regional bloc.
In the past few years, the SAARC region has seen promising engagements in mutual cooperation between nations. For these developments to hold, new ideas must be put on the table for discussion. ‘Neighbourhood Views of India’ is our effort towards contributing to that process.
Ronendra ‘Ronen’ Sen is a former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Germany, Mexico and Russia, and the former Indian High Commissioner to the UK. He is the only ambassador to have served in four G8 capitals, including those of three Read more
Amit Baruah is the South Asia Studies Fellow at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. He is an award winning journalist who has lived and reported from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Singapore. He is the author of Dateline Read more
The promise of an egalitarian democratic system in India and abroad, has been tarnished by the entrenchment of dynastic leadership and by an inordinate concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few. It is imperative to find ways to confront the shortcomings that have crept into our cherished democracies.