Sitting on the sensitive border between India and Bangladesh is the Sundarbans, one of the most wondrous and also most endangered eco-systems in the world. It is a precious mangrove forest of 10,000 square km, sixty percent of which is in Bangladesh and the rest in India. The region is a diplomatic thorn between the two countries: its environmental troubles are caused by neglect and climate change, resulting in the creation of refugees due to loss of livelihood and water-sharing problems. The Sundarbans’ issues can advance the relationship between the two neighbors – or send them into retreat.
On September 6, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Bangladesh for a highly anticipated round of talks. This is the moment for both sides to look afresh at the Sundarbans and make it the creative spur for our bilateral prosperity.