Chapter 15. International Relations Notes for UPSC Mains

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  • Economic
    • Bangladesh is India’s largest trading partner in S Asia
      • Duty free imports from Ban
      • Trade has seen huge growth in recent years
        • Set to rise to 10 billion $ in 2018
    • India to extend 4.5 billion$ of soft loans for Infra Financing
      • Although development assistance has been cut by 40%. Also for other South Asian countries
    • SEZ
      • 3 SEZ in Ban exclusively for Indian investors
    • SAFTA
    • Myanmar Bangladesh, India pipeline
    • Border Haat
      • Near NE states
      • Market at stipulated location and time at the border
      • Traders and customers within 5 km range from the border engage in tax free trading
      • 4 already exist, 6 more to come up
  • Power
    • Current power production only 7500 MW
    • Imports 5000 MW from India
      • Plans to increase this to 11000 MW
      • Ambani & Adani signed agreement to generate 4000 MW natural gas based power
        • From Jharkhand Adani
    • Power evacuation for NE
      • Chicken’s neck
      • 60k MW of potential in NE
    • Power exchange
      • India Power exchange to be created
      • Grid connected BBIN
      • India to supply 100 MW of electricity in exchange of 10 Gbps of Internet connectivity
        • Case study of successful diplomacy with bilateral benefits
  • Shipping
    • India Bangla share a 1000 km long riverine border
    • Currently, non profitable as big ships can’t move coast to coast easily
    • Hence, River Sea Vessels (RSV ) proposed
    • Inland Waterways Trade & Transit Pact
      • Will provide access to Ban’s inland waters
      • Double benefit
        • Cheaper trade with Ban
        • Easier connection with NE
        • Similarly, Ban benefited too as it gains access via Indian inland waters to Nepal, Bhutan
    • India also got the access to use the Chittagong port & Mongla Port
      • Will again help trade with Ban & connectivity with the NE


  • Anti Pak
    • Both boycotted SAARC in PAK
    • Ban agrees on Indian proposal of CCIT in UN on Terror
    • India has supported Ban demand for recognition of International Genocide Day conducted by Pak o its soils
  • Defence
    • India extended line of credit for defence supplies
    • Counter
      • Ban bought 2 submarines from China
      • Counter – Counter – Ban China have had defence relations for long
  • Nuclear
    • India – Russia working on feasibility of building a joint Nuclear power plant in Bangladesh
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  • Controversy over Tipaimukh hydro project
    • On river Barak in Manipur
    • Bangladesh concerned over water sharing & volatility of supply in Ban
    • Other general problems with the project – displacement of local Manipuri, ecologically sensitive area & highly seismic region
  • Motor vehicle
    • Motor Vehicles Agreement with BBIN
      • Elaborated in SAARC
    • Bus route
      • between Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala
        • Existed earlier in form of 2 separate bus services between Kolkata Dhaka & Dhaka Agartala
      • Another Dhaka- Shillong- Guwahati flagged
      • Both will help in the better interconnection of NE with mainland
        • Time will reduce from3 days to 1 day between Kolkata-Agartala
  • Road
    • Bridge across Feni River in Tripura being built
    • Will help to transport goods to India via Bangladesh
  • Land Swap Deal
    • 100th Constitutional Amendment ACT
    • 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh in return for 7,000 acres in
    • 111 enclaves in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya,
    • 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh,
    • The number of people 52,000, of which about 15,000 are on the Indian side of the border.
    • The residents have choice to stay or move to parent country
    • India Rs 4k crore for heir rehabilitation
    • Election Laws bill (Amendment), 2016 to allow them to vote
  • Security
    • Sunderban Moitry – Exercise between BSF and border guards of Ban
  • Construction
    • India to develop Sylhet City


  • String of pearls
  • Refugee/ cross border migration
    • 5 lakh Bang visit India annually officially
      • Many more unofficially
    • 2 crore a rough figure of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants in India
  • Pak using Ban to send terrorists/ fake currency
  • Hindu minorities persecution
  • Opposition under Khaleda Zia remains Anti India
  • Trafficking
    • NCRB data – WB & Assam bulk of trafficking
  • Water Sharing
    • 54 total trans national rivers – Should instead focus on them
    • Issue
      • TEESTA
        • India an an Upper Riparian State yields Considerable influence on the river
        • er, after negotiation, an ad-hoc agreement was reached. As per the agreement, 36% of water of the Teesta flows was allocated to Bangladesh, 39% to India and a further 25 % remained unallocated.
        • But even this deal has remained pending for more than 2 decades. After many unsuccessful attempts to reach a consensus on the issue, a new bilateral interim deal was to be signed in 2011 to reach an equitable sharing of the water. But it was once again put on hold as the chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee opposed the deal.
        • Later, in 2013, an agreement was drafted which allowed for the 50:50 allocation of teesta waters between the countries during the lean season, when the real problems of allocation crop up. However, that was not acceptable.
        • North BENGAL – dependent on TEESSTA _ RICE _ May alter this cropping attern – West Bengal has been opposing the treaty fearing that the loss of higher volume of water to the lower riparian would cause problems in the northern region of state, especially during drier months. It is estimated that the Teesta River has a mean annual flow of 60 billion cubic metres but a significant amount of this water flows only during wet season i.e. between June and September, leaving scant flow during the dry season i.e. October to April/May wherein the average flow gets reduced to about 500 million cubic metres (MCM) per month. This creates issues of equitable sharing during lean season.
        • Teesta water is also crucial for Bangladesh, especially in the leanest period from December to March 
  • Farakka Barrage
  • Tipaimukh Project
    • Barak River
  1.  e construction and operation of the Farakka Barrage by India to increase water supply in the river Hoogly. Bangladesh insists that it does not receive a fair share of the Ganges waters during the drier seasons, and gets flooded during the monsoons when India releases excess waters. See also Sharing of Ganges Waters.
  2. There have also been disputes regarding the transfer of Teen Bigha Corridor to Bangladesh. Part of Bangladesh is surrounded by the Indian state of West Bengal. On 26 June 1992, India leased three bigha land to Bangladesh to connect this enclave with mainland Bangladesh. There was a dispute regarding the indefinite nature of the lease. The dispute was resolved by an mutual agreement between India and Bangladesh in 2011.[7]
  3. Continuous border killing of Indian and Bangladeshi people
  4. illegal drug trade, cattlle trade
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Assam Accord:

  • The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15 August 1985.
  • . Assamese people had assimilated Bangladeshis who had migrated till 1966.
  • As per the Accord, those Bangladeshis who came between 1966 and 1971 will be barred from voting for ten years.
  • international borders will be sealed and all persons who crossed over from Bangladesh after 1971 are to be deported.
  • Though the accord brought an end to the agitation, some of the key clauses are yet to be implemented, which has kept some of the issues festering.

1971 war

Why India entered the war

1. There were human right violations in east Pakistan. Children and women were mistreated.
2. Refugee problem made India’s position vulnerable. More than 80 lakh people entered India. This led to stress in north east.
3. Long Term -Strategic- Pak attacking from 2 fronts
4. The Bangla independent faction under M Rehman called Mukti Bahini asked for India’s help.
5. Pakistan felt insecure and started bombing in north west of India, leaving India no option other than entering war.