As of now and as the process is stipulated by the Indian government, a large scale push back as an official measure is not imminent.
However, I anticipate two possible scenarios; first those who are left out of the list will migrate to Bangladesh on their own for safety and security. I presume the Indian government will allow this to happen while continue to deny that it has anything to do with the NRC. Second, the possibility of a large push back will be hanging over the head of Bangladesh as the ‘Sword of Damocles’. This is like to be used by India to extract further concessions from the Bangladesh government.
Bangladesh must make a clear statement that it won’t accept any Indian citizens and Bangladesh should secure the borders with immediate effect which should continue for foreseeable future. Contingency plans should be formulated with possible scenarios- from the best case scenario to the worst case scenario. It’s a serious test for the government’s foreign policy, which unfortunately has so far downplayed the gravity of the situation. The abject failure regarding Rohingya refugee crisis should have taught the government that preemptions and preparation are keys to address the situation.
How far Bangladesh can do given its ongoing bilateral relations with India?
The actions of the government must be guided by the national interests and long term implications, rather than immediate benefits and myopia. Therefore, it is imperative that Bangladesh government makes it clear to India that if India insists that the NRC its internal matter, it’s India’s responsibility to contain its impacts within its borders. Anything else will be a violation of international laws and norms. Closeness of a bilateral relationship can only be based on mutual benefits not benefiting one side. The relationship is already lopsided in favor of India - from trade to political; this can’t be another addition to the long list.
Ali Riaz is a distinguished professor at the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University.