14 July, 2024
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During her forthcoming India trip, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina needs to meet top leadership of RSS

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Bilateral political landscape is often governed by nuanced interactions and strategic partnerships. In mercurial India-Bangladesh political context, now one significant figure in this dynamic is Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. As she is going to embark on another tour of India on 21 June, it is worth exploring the potential benefits of his involvement not only with the Indian government but also with influential organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The RSS, known for its ideological roots, massive popularity and extensive influence within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), plays a crucial role in shaping India’s domestic and foreign policies. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s interaction with RSS could enhance Bangladesh-India relations in a multifaceted manner.

Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Founder of RSS said:

The Hindu culture is the life-breath of Hindusthan. It is therefore clear that if Hindusthan is to be protected, we should first nourish the Hindu culture. If the Hindu culture perishes in Hindusthan itself, and if the Hindu society ceases to exist, it will hardly be appropriate to refer to the mere geographical entity that remains as Hindusthan. Mere geographical lumps do not make a nation. The entire society should be in such a vigilant and organized condition that no one would dare to cast an evil eye on any of our points of honour.

Strength, it should be remembered, comes only through organization. It is therefore the duty of every Hindu to do his best to consolidate the Hindu society. The Sangh is just carrying out this supreme task. The present fate of the country cannot be changed unless lakhs of young men dedicate their entire lifetime for that cause. To mould the minds of our youth towards that end is the supreme aim of the Sangh.

As a movement for national reconstruction totally nurtured by the people, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has no parallel in India or elsewhere. The growth of the RSS – as a movement for assertion of Bharat’s national identity – acquires added significance when we remember that the birth of the Sangh was preceded by mental, cultural and economic onslaught by alien rulers for long decades.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s official visit to India is set to take place next week, highlighting the ongoing diplomatic efforts between the two neighboring countries. Scheduled for June 21, the visit will include a one-on-one meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, followed by delegation-level talks. This visit marks Hasina’s second trip to India in a month. Definitely, this fresh visit will have a strategic importance for both nations regarding bilateral relationship. The meetings are expected to cover a range of issues, including defense partnership, cross-border connectivity, and trade.

A significant topic on the agenda is the discussion of a new loan framework. Bangladesh has faced challenges in utilizing the existing Indian Line of Credit (LoC) due to stringent conditions, such as the requirement that a large percentage of goods or services for each project be procured from India. The proposed new framework aims to ease these conditions, making it easier for Bangladesh to implement projects and repay loans. This financial dialogue is crucial as Bangladesh seeks to balance its economic engagements with both India and China.

In recent years, Prime Minister Hasina has maintained a pattern of meeting with leaders from India’s major political parties, including the BJP and the Indian National Congress. These interactions have exhibited a sense of continuity and mutual understanding between the two nations. However, there has been a noticeable absence of meetings with key regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, or Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the RSS.

Meeting with Mamata Banerjee could be strategically significant, given West Bengal’s geographical and cultural proximity to Bangladesh. Issues such as the Teesta River water sharing, which directly affects both regions, could benefit from more direct dialogue. Similarly, engaging with Dr. Mohan Bhagwat and the RSS could provide deeper insights into the ideological underpinnings that influence India’s policy decisions, thereby fostering a more comprehensive bilateral relationship.

The RSS holds a unique position in Indian politics. Though It’s not a political party but has significant influence on the BJP. The RSS’s ideological framework and grassroots network have been instrumental in shaping the BJP’s policy directions and electoral strategies. Recognizing the RSS’s significance, Prime Minister Hasina could potentially enhance her diplomatic strategy by engaging with its leadership.

Understanding the RSS’s perspectives on regional stability, economic cooperation, and cultural exchanges could offer Bangladesh new avenues for collaboration. Such an engagement would not only provide a more holistic view of India’s political landscape but also enable Bangladesh to navigate its bilateral relationship with greater nuance and foresight.

The upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Hasina and Prime Minister Modi holds substantial significance, particularly in light of their previous interactions. This will be their second meeting within a month, emphasizing the urgency and importance of the issues at hand. After India’s visit, Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to have a state visit in China. This development is particularly crucial as Bangladesh continues to engage with both Indian and Chinese financial commitments. It would be a balanced diplomatic approach of Bangladesh in its international relations.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India presents an opportune moment for both nations to strengthen their diplomatic and economic ties. While the primary focus of her visit will be on her discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is a compelling case for Hasina to extend her engagement to include influential organizations like the RSS. Such a move could provide deeper insights into the ideological forces shaping India’s policies and offer new avenues for cooperation.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Hasina’s engagement with a broader spectrum of India’s political and ideological landscape, including the RSS, could significantly bolster Bangladesh-India relations. By fostering a more inclusive and comprehensive dialogue, both nations can work towards a more stable and prosperous future.

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