Why Bangladesh is a bigger threat to India than Pakistan today

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The growing terrorist activities in Bangladesh where liberal thinkers and minorities are being ruthlessly attacked and the Sheikh Hasina government's failure to completely rein in the elements have made India worried.

The latter has now seriously taken up with the neighbouring country the issue of terrorists threatening a priest of the Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka. The external affairs ministry has said that it will stand by the Hasina government to tackle the threat and will not allow any kind of misunderstanding crop up between the two countries. The Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh also paid a visit to the mission. [The more Bangladesh faces IS threat, the better becomes BJP's chances in Bengal]

india bangladesh

India's urgency in its ties with Bangladesh is not unexpected. At a time when New Delhi is trying hard to cement its base of influence in the neighbourhood, the rise of extremism in Bangladesh is both a worry and opportunity for the former.

Extremism in Bangladesh: Both a worry and an opportunity

The worry is of course the radicals' reaching the eastern border and the opportunity is to bring Dhaka closer to New Delhi than it is to Beijing for China has shown a determination in challenging India by encircling it through the smaller countries in South Asia.

New Delhi needs to engage with Bangladesh for it poses a bigger security threat than Pakistan today. At the same time, it offers a huge economic opportunity to integrate South Asia like never before.

IS has a better chance of reaching India via the eastern front

The IS has a better chance to flourish in Bangladesh and enter India from the east for two reasons: first, the IS has a bigger challenge to reach India from the west owing to the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bangladesh, on the other other hand, is a more fertile territory for the IS to grow, thanks to the country's shrunk space for media and other freedom and the inability of the government to deal with the problem.

Secondly, India has a more clumsy border to the east which is also given lesser strategic significance compared to that with Pakistan or China. We have seen in the recent past how extremist elements have been entering easily in the border state of West Bengal and conducting sinister activities. If New Delhi doesn't act to tighten things up in the east, the potential of India-Bangladesh relations could not just be ruined but even India's internal security would be jeopardised.

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