Beef up negotiation skills
An eminent economist has asked the government to strengthen its negotiation skills with India to benefit more from the market of the neighbouring country.
India is an emerging economic power and has already created an opportunity for Bangladesh by allowing duty- and quota-free access of its products, said Prof Rehman Sobhan at a seminar in Dhaka yesterday.
“You have to launch a series of negotiations to harness the potential of the Indian market. Do not hope the relationship with India will give you everything that you want; it needs negotiations,” he said.
He also said Pakistan is highly restricted in the Indian market, but the trade volume of Pakistan with India is bigger than that of Bangladesh.
While talking on 'India-Bangladesh-Myanmar relations: challenges for mutual development', he said one of the barriers in sub-regional cooperation is the peculiar central government-dominated political dynamics in the region.
He said Bangladesh should resolve the existing problems with Myanmar also, as the country is located in between India and China, two emerging Asian economic powerhouses.
Sobhan, also the chairman of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), was speaking at the seminar organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) at its office.
Zillur R Khan, professor emeritus of University of Wisconsin, and adjunct professor of Rollins College, USA, said the scope of Saarc and Asean needs to be broadened by an amendment to the charters allowing both bilateral and multilateral negotiations for problem solving through joint select committees.
Cooperation based on bilateral or trilateral agreements on common areas of interest, such as energy, transport and water, might accelerate the process of development, he said.
“Immigration, border disputes and security issues could also produce faster and positive outcomes.”
Former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury stressed the need for building confidence in the relationship between Bangladesh and India.
A good relationship between India and Bangladesh might face crisis if the Teesta, Tipaimukh and other hanging issues are not resolved amicably, he added.
Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, adviser to the BNP chairperson, said, if the non-tariff and para-tariff barriers are not addressed by the Indian side, Bangladesh will not be able to export its goods to this potential market.
BEI President Farooq Sobhan moderated the programme, also joined by scholars, academicians, researchers and diplomats.