Welcome Bangladesh

The Prime Minister’s statement that India has agreed to the trilateral cooperation on the 1024 MW Dorjilung project between Bhutan and Bangladesh is very welcome news for several reasons.

India’s consent to the project was critical as the power infrastructure for transmission lines have to be built and sent through Indian territory to Bangladesh.

The first obvious benefit is economic in nature as this will mean revenue for Bhutan and electricity for Bangladesh.

However, the real significance of the deal is more political representing a major diplomatic victory for not only Bhutan but also India and Bangladesh.

It’s a winner for Bhutan, because for the first time a third country apart from India is investing in Bhutan’s hydropower sector providing us with a friendly option.

For Bangladesh, this would be the first time that they are importing power directly from Bhutan through Indian soil to meet a dire power shortage need.

Finally for India the benefit will come in winning the trust and goodwill of both Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Though it is early days and there will have to be detailed negotiations between the three countries, it is a good start and the intent is clear. This project can also serve as a good example of potential future projects.

India’s assent to the program demonstrates its mature diplomacy and leadership role in the region. For a long time people have questioned the viability and role of SAARC but moves like this show that a lot can still be achieved between SAARC countries if there is political will.

This assent by India also ties in well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy vision of strengthening ties with its immediate neighbors.

Bhutan has shown sensitivity for India by offering a project which is outside the 10,000 MW projects agreed to between both sides and also by keeping India in the picture.

Another benefit for both Bhutan and India is that with it becoming clear that 10,000 MW by 2020 is not a feasible date due to the time and resources required, such projects involving a third partner can take the pressure off 10,000 MW.

The project also sends a very clear and positive message to the people of the three countries on the benefits of working together in an environment of mutual trust and respect.

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.”

Bertrand Russell


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