Amidst a growing tide of speculations concerning relations between Bangladesh and India, India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla paid an almost surprise visit to Dhaka last month. Normally such visits are announced in advance, but this particular Dhaka trip of the Indian foreign secretary only appeared in the media just the day before Shringla arrived.

在有关孟加拉国和印度关系的猜测越来越多的情况下,印度外交秘书夏赫·瓦德汗·斯林拉上个月几乎出乎意料地访问了达卡。通常,此类访问是提前宣布的,但印度外长这次达卡之行,在Shringla抵达前一天才出现在媒体上。

Immediately after Harsh Vardhan Shringla arrived in Dhaka on 17 August, the Indian high commission issued a brief note, saying that the foreign secretary’s visit aimed at taking forward relations between the two friendly neighbours.

8月17日,斯林拉抵达达卡后,印度高级专员公署立即发表简短照会,表示外长此次访问的目的是推动这两个友好邻邦的关系向前发展。

However, even after Shringla paid a courtesy call upon prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the evening the same day, the government made no statement in this regard.

然而,即使在当天晚上斯林拉对谢赫哈辛娜总理进行了礼节性拜访之后,政府也没有就此发表任何声明。

Over the last decade, relations at a state level between Bangladesh and India had reached an all-time high. It was often declared by both sides that the relations between the two countries had entered a golden chapter.

在过去十年中,孟加拉国和印度在国家一级的关系达到了空前的高度。双方经常宣称,两国关系已经进入了黄金时期。

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, over the past few months several meeting and trips between the two countries were cancelled. At such a juncture, the sudden and brief Dhaka visit of India’s foreign secretary sparked of considerable curiousity. During the two-day visit, though Harsh Vardhan Shringla held a lunch meeting with Bangladesh’s foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, the main obxtive of the trip with the courtesy call on prime minister Sheikh Hasina. However, whatever transpired at the meeting remains unknown. No one from the foreign ministry was present at the meeting with the prime minister on 17 August at Gonobhaban.

随着冠状病毒大流行的爆发,过去几个月,两国之间取消了几次会晤和出行。在这样一个关键时刻,印度外交部长对达卡的突然而短暂的访问引发了相当多的好奇。在此次为期两天的访问中,斯林拉与孟加拉国外交部长马苏德·本·摩门举行了午餐会议,此行的主要目的是礼节性地拜访了谢赫哈西娜总理。然而,会议上究竟发生了什么仍不得而知。外交部没有人出席8月17日在Gonobhaban与总理的会晤。

Relations between these two close South Asian neighbours have reached such a level since 2009, that this is not the first such sudden visit over the last decade.

自2009年以来,这两个南亚近邻之间的关系达到了如此高的水平,以至于这不是过去十年来第一次如此突然的访问。


On the flip side, however, despite repeated pledges from India, border killings were not reduced to zero. Nine years have passed yet the Teesta deal has not been signed. It is still unknown as to when the deal to share waters of common rivers will be signed. Five years have passed since the signing of the land port protocol, but the demarcation of Muhuri river remains in limbo. And despite all this bilateral cooperation, Bangladesh is upset not to find India by its side in the Rohingya crisis. There is also much concern about India’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).

然而,另一方面,尽管印度一再做出承诺,但边境死亡人数并没有减少到零。九年过去了,Teesta的合同还没有签署。目前还不清楚共享共同河流水域的协议何时会签署。自签署陆地港口议定书以来已经五年了,但穆胡里河的划界仍然悬而未决。尽管有了这些双边合作,但在罗兴亚危机中,孟加拉国发现印度并没有站在自己一边,这让孟加拉国感到不安。印度的国家公民登记法案也引起了很多关注。

If the relations between these two close neighbours are multidimensional and not comparable with any other relations, then transparency is essential in public interest.

如果这两个近邻之间的关系是多层面的,不能与任何其他关系相比,那么透明度对公共利益来说是必不可少的。


Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s Dhaka trip was discussed at least a week before he arrived in Dhaka in 17 August, said diplomatic sources. After discussions at the top level, Shringla came to Dhaka to deliver Delhi’s message. Other than his courtesy call on prime minister Sheikh Hasina and discussions with the foreign secretary, Shringla also talked to several other quarters to assess and understand how relations stood between the two countries.

外交消息人士说,夏赫·瓦德汗·斯林拉的达卡之行至少在他于8月17日抵达达卡之前一周就已经讨论过了。在高层讨论之后,斯林格拉来到达卡,传达了德里的信息。除了拜会哈西娜总理,与哈西娜外长进行会谈外,施林拉还同其他各方进行了交谈,评估和了解了两国关系的现状。

Changed geopolitics and China
In recent years the balance of power in global politics is gradually shifting from the West towards Asia. This has generated a degree of excitement in Asia, further increased by the outbreak of coronavirus. The Dhaka trip of India’s foreign secretary is not unrelated to this.

改变的地缘政治和中国
近年来,全球政治的力量平衡正逐渐从西方转向亚洲。这在亚洲引起了一定程度的兴奋,而冠状病毒的爆发又进一步加剧了这种兴奋。印度外交部长的达卡之行与此不无关系。

President of Bangladesh Institute Peace and Strategic Studies (BIPSS), Maj Gen (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman, speaking to Prothom Alo, said India has not received the response it had hoped for from neighbouring countries in the changed circumstances of strategic relations. India was particularly perturbed at the lack of reaction from the South Asian countries during its clashes with China. It is concerned about the state of its relations with its neighbours.

孟加拉国和平与战略研究所(BIPSS)主席、陆军部长ANM Muniruzzaman对Prothom Alo说,在战略关系已经改变的情况下,印度并没有从邻国那里得到它所希望的回应。印度尤其感到不安的是,在与中国发生冲突期间,南亚国家没有做出反应。它对它与邻国的关系状况感到担忧。

The BIPSS president said, things are not going well for India where its relations with Nepal are concerned. It is also worried after Sri Lanka’s election results. Good relations still prevail with Bangladesh, but it is wary about this neighbour’s multi-level cooperation with China. It is noticeably concerned at the manner in which China is getting increasingly involved in Bangladesh’s infrastructural development.

BIPSS的会长说,印度和尼泊尔的关系进展并不顺利,这一点令人担忧。斯里兰卡的选举结果也让他们感到担忧。印度与孟加拉国的友好关系仍然占主流,但印度对这个邻国与中国的多层次合作持谨慎态度。它显然对中国越来越多地参与孟加拉国基础设施开发的方式感到担忧。

Muniruzzaman pointed out that Indian media was highlighting, with concern, the possibility of Chinese assistance for Teesta barrage. A state-owned company of China has carried out a study in this regard and has indicated its interest in funding and implementing the project.

穆尼鲁扎曼指出,印度媒体正关切地强调中国对提斯塔大坝提供援助的可能性。中国的一家国有公司进行了这方面的研究,并表示有兴趣资助和实施该项目。

On the same note as this defence analyst, former foreign secretary Touhid Hossain said there was a lix between China’s growing presence in South Asia and Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s Dhaka visit. He said, “We can see China’s relations are not going well with India, but China’s ties with us are strengthening. So India may very well be concerned. From 2016 China has been investing in many mega projects in Bangladesh. India is not comfortable with this. Due to its own adverse relations with China, the growing proximity between Bangladesh and China is a matter of concern for India. That is why is can be assumed that India’s foreign secretary came to Dhaka to deliver a message from Delhi concerning China.

前外交部长Touhid侯赛因表示,中国在南亚日益增长的存在与夏克?瓦德汗?斯林拉的达卡之行之间存在联系。他说:“我们可以看到中国和印度的关系不太好,但是中国和我们的关系正在加强。所以印度可能非常担心。从2016年开始,中国在孟加拉国投资了许多大型项目。印度对此感到不安。由于自身与中国的不利关系,孟加拉国和中国之间日益接近的关系日益成为印度关注的问题。因此,我们可以认为,印度外长来到达卡是为了传递德里方面关于中国的信息。


Bangladesh immediate past foreign secretary and senior fellow at North South University’s South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance, Md Shahidul Haque, told Prothom Alo, the balance of power in global politics is gradually shifting from the West towards Asia. India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla came to Dhaka to open new facets in Bangladesh-India relations, given the changing geopolitical circumstances in the global backdrop. It is only natural for them to want Dhaka by their side as a friend.

孟加拉国刚刚卸任的外交大臣、北南大学南亚政策与治理研究所高级研究员沙希杜尔·哈克告诉Prothom Alo,全球政治的力量平衡正逐渐从西方转向亚洲。鉴于全球地缘政治形势的变化,印度外交部长什林格拉此次访问达卡是为了开启印孟关系的新局面。很自然,他们希望达卡像朋友一样站在他们身边。

Lack of transparency
Former foreign secretary Md Touhid Hossain said, “There was a lack of transparency in the visit of the Indian foreign secretary. Naturally this trip wasn’t just decided upon overnight. The contents of his discussions with the prime minister have not been revealed till now. If information cannot be availed, speculations are bound to spread. In the interests of Bangladesh-India ties, it would be better not to give scope to such speculations. It is not that the public has to be informed of everything in detail, but it would have been good if at least a press note was issued. After all, these are multi-dimensional relations and so the people naturally want to know what matters were discussed.”

缺乏透明度
前外交部长侯赛因说:“印度外交部长的访问缺乏透明度。当然,这次旅行不是一夜之间就决定了的。他与首相讨论的内容到现在还没有透露。如果信息不能透露,各种猜测必然会传播开来。为了孟印关系的利益,最好不要给这种猜测留有余地。这并不是说公众必须被告知所有的细节,但如果至少发布一个新闻说明就好了。”

However, Bangladesh’s former high commissioner and senior fellow of Independent University’s Bay of Bengal Institute Project, Tariq A Karim, differed from Touhid Hossain about the matter of transparency. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said many important issues are discussed between two closely neighbouring countries on such visits. In diplomatic matters, there are all sorts of limitations on bringing things out in the open. If any such issue suddenly crops up, this is how it is to be resolved. In the history of diplomacy, most important and successful negotiations are done behind the scenes, not in the open. The public gets to know about it after things are finalised. Bangladesh-India relations are presently at complex crossroads.

然而,孟加拉国前高级专员、独立大学孟加拉湾研究所项目高级研究员Tariq A Karim在透明度问题上与Touhid Hossain看法不同。他在Prothom Alo的采访中说,在这样的访问中,两个紧密的邻国将讨论许多重要问题。在外交事务中,把事情公开化存在各种限制。如果突然出现这样的问题,这就是解决的办法。在外交史上,最重要、最成功的谈判都是在幕后进行的,而不是在公开场合。公众会在事情最终敲定后才知道。孟印关系目前处于复杂的十字路口。

It goes to Bangladesh’s benefit that we have good relations with both India and China. We are like a bridge. We will not drop one and chose the other.

我们与印度和中国都有良好的关系,这对孟加拉国有利。我们就像一座桥。我们不会放弃一个而选择另一个。

Former foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque feels that if the relations between these two close neighbours are multidimensional and not comparable with any other relations, then transparency is essential in public interest. He said, relations between the two countries have reached such a level that new areas of cooperation are steadily emerging. In the interests of these relations it is better to have a transparent stance. He said that the relations between the two countries cannot be explained by any common definition. It cannot be replaced by any other relations. In 2019 it was clearly said that these relations are above strategic relations. And the interaction between the people of the two countries goes back for centuries.

前外交大臣Md Shahidul Haque认为,如果这两个近邻之间的关系是多层面的,任何其他关系都无法与之相比,那么透明度对于公共利益来说是至关重要的。他说,两国关系发展到一定水平,新的合作领域不断涌现。为了这些关系的利益,最好采取透明的立场。他说,两国之间的关系无法用任何共同的定义来解释。它不能被任何其他关系所取代。2019年,双方明确指出,两国关系高于战略关系。两国人民之间的交往可以追溯到几个世纪以前。

Development efforts and India’s responsibility
According to diplomatic and international relations experts, despite the close ties between Bangladesh and India, the people of Bangladesh have anger towards the government of India on several accounts. India has not been sensitive about allying this anger. Also, India has a shockingly strong reaction to any overtures Bangladesh makes in scaling up its relations with other countries in its own interests.

发展的努力和印度的责任
据外交和国际关系专家说,尽管孟加拉国和印度关系密切,但孟加拉国人民对印度的政府感到愤怒,原因有几个。印度在平复这种愤怒方面不敏感。此外,对于孟加拉国为自身利益而加强与其他国家关系的任何姿态,印度都做出了令人震惊的强烈反应。

We want good relations with India, but it has to be give and take.

我们希望与印度建立良好关系,但必须相互让步。

Maj Gen (retd) Muniruzzaman said, “Given our close ties, we did not receive the cooperation we had hoped for from India regarding the Rohingya crisis. While the whole world is condemning the Myanmar army for committing genocide, India had grown close ties with the Myanmar army. This has worried us. India is now a non-permanent member of the Security Council. We hope they play a more important role in resolving the Rohingya crisis.”

退役少将穆尼鲁扎曼说:“尽管我们之间关系密切,我们却没有从印度那里得到我们希望的关于罗辛亚危机的合作。当全世界都在谴责缅甸军队犯下种族灭绝罪时,印度却与缅甸军队建立了密切的关系。这让我们很担心。印度现在是安全理事会非常任理事国。我们希望他们在解决罗兴亚危机中发挥更重要的作用。”


Md Touhid Hossain said, Bangladesh had strengthened its economic ties with China for the sake of development. There is no other alternative. So as a friendly country, India should not be uncomfortable about Bangladesh-China relations. Bangladesh’s development will be good for India. India’s market will expand. It will be a boost to business. If a close friend prosper and does well, it is always beneficial. A large number of Indian nationals work in Bangladesh. If Bangladesh’s economy expands, that scope will grow further or India.

Md Touhid 侯赛因说,为了发展,孟加拉国加强了与中国的经济联系。没有其他选择。因此,作为一个友好国家,印度不应该对孟中关系感到不安。孟加拉国的发展将有利于印度。印度的市场将会扩大。这将促进商业发展。如果一个亲密的朋友成功了并且做得很好,它总是有益的。许多印度人在孟加拉国工作。如果孟加拉国的经济扩张,这个范围将进一步扩大,印度也是。