Friday, January 12, 2007

Turbulent Neighbour, Unsafe Borders.....

Iajuddin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh, declared state of emergency after the current turmoil in country, which witnessed huge surge in pre-poll violence. It has come after UN suspended all support for elections in wake of boycott of elections by the opposition. Even European Union has withdrawn its poll observation mission.

The situation has become more chaotic in our neighbouring country inrecent years and this bores significant concerns for us as the chaotic neighbour can be source potential problem to us. In case of Bhutan, it helped us by flushing out ULFA from their country, which was really noteworthy. The same course of action cannot be expected from country like Bangladesh which has embroiled itself in internal strife and chaos. A country which has huge resource of natural gas and possibly of oil also is in a pitiful state.

Though India has refrained from interfering into matters of other states, it should take some strategic view of the current situation there.

As you look at the map of Bangladesh, it is covered with land on its three sides by us and the fourth side faces ocean, the bay which is completely dominated by India. A small thorn in this area is not warranted as the country has been of no importance to us. None of its actions have been beneficial to us, infact they have been detriment to us.

My course of Action:

while taking any decision about Bangladesh, we need to analyse all the factors affecting us and try to derive maximum gains from it. The positive points about Bangladesh are its only and only one thing that is gas reserves. Bangladesh has huge proven gas reserves of about 11 tcf (trillion cubic feet). Though, experts feel still lot more gas remains to be discovered in the region, the country can be in the eyes of lot of other energy deficient countries like China. The negative points list is bit long with hostility of current political leadership towards India, internal chaos, incompetent leaders. The other major negative point is huge flooding of the country in monsoon. It is 75 % submerged while in floods.

So if India ever decides to takeover the country, there would always be more than profit from it. The best possible action would be to take over the benefits and leave the problems to be tackled by themselves.

India should enter into a bilateral arrangement with Bangladesh, where India should guarantee market to the Bangladeshi oil and gas for next 25 years at the predetermined, negotiated price. In return for that India will develop all of its oil and gas fields and all the reqisite infrastructure for it. Indi would issue aid to the country in the form of soft Rupee loans for next 30 years for developing the infrastructure. The same would be repaid by the country from its earnings from sale of oil and gas. The whole agreement has to be set up in such a way that the only currency to be used for transazction between India and Bangladesh would be Indian Rupee. India would provide forex services to their companies, if required by them to trade with other countries.

In this way, the whole development of country will be dependent on us and as all the market for their oil and gas is held by us, we wouldbe able to dictate terms to them. As the trade between them and us would be in Indian Rupee, India would be infact exporting our currency to pay its debts to Bangladesh. As Bangladesh would find ready market for its gas-produce, they will place huge demand for Indian goods, as they will readily have Indian rupee reserves to pay for it.

25-30 years arrangement for oil and gas will solve some procurement problems for future demand for energy and energy equivalents. We will have some kind of buffer in form of Bangladesh. As the oil and gas fields will be developed by Indian companies(though in participation with local companies there), we will have some kind of reserves for us. Bangladesh will be our natural ally as its development will depend on ours and we can thus buy our safety and also some of energy concerns.

Already we are finding huge reserves in Bay of Bengal and we cannot ignore the safety of that region for our own benefit.

Though the scheme above canbe still more refined, it is by product of crude thinking of my own. Hope India starts some strategic moves and establishes itself(firmly) as global power (and not as only a regional power).


Sudeep Mirza said...

thtz wht analysis is..

i remember u hv been advocating this (or kindda this) concept for long...

Perhaps itz too practical n feasible to adapt for our politicians in charge...

keep it up, who knows when this idea will fall in gr8 hands who would step in this direction

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Pawankumar Nathani said...

Time has really come for this idea and some thinking has taken root with recent visit of our current prime minister Mr Narendra Modi. now it needs to be seen, how far this goevernment will go in taking action on securing our borders...