Bangladesh worried about Modi election impact

Bangladesh's garment-dependent economy and volatile politics are often influenced by the goings-on in Delhi.

Ajit Solanki/AP
India's next prime minister and Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi attends the swearing in ceremony of the new Chief Minister of Gujarat state Anandiben Patel in Gandhinagar, India, Thursday.

Narendra Modi’s landslide election as prime minister of India has provoked a round of hand-wringing in neighboring Bangladesh, whose garment-dependent economy and volatile politics are often influenced by the goings-on in Delhi.

But people may be jumping to conclusions, says our correspondent on the ground.

The concerns stem in part from reports that Mr. Modi has pledged to take a harder line in kicking illegal Bangladeshi immigrants out of in India. And for some in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, Modi’s Hindu nationalist reputation and his alleged role in anti-Muslim riots in 2002 have provoked concerns.

Moreover, Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League has historical ties with India’s now-defeated Congress Party. It was Congress-led India that intervened militarily in then-East Pakistan’s bloody independence war with Islamabad in 1971 to ensure the birth of Bangladesh. And India was the only major country to endorse Bangladesh’s highly controversial election earlier this year, in which the Awami League won a commanding majority amid a boycott by the main opposition.

“There is a general perception that when Congress is in power and Awami League is in power, the relationship is good,” says our correspondent on the ground in Dhaka.

Whether that’s actually the case, however, is far from clear, given a host of unresolved disputes over water issues, border killings, and trade...For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.

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