Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Dhaka trip on the occasion of Bangladesh's golden jubilee celebration is a diplomatic success because it proves the integrity of the Bangladesh-India relationship, the goodwill between the governments, and the desire to take the relationship to the next stage.
A day before the trip, Narendra Modi said this Dhaka trip marks his first-ever foreign trip since the coronavirus gripped the world. This remark says a lot about the BJP government's seriousness about the bilateral ties with India's most trusted neighbour in the region.
Especially, following the months of speculation about Bangladesh's growing ties with China – India's regional competition – Narendra Modi's trip is significant in diplomatic perspectives. Bangladesh also needed an occasion to warm up its relations with its largest neighbour as it has many unresolved issues with India that Dhaka needs to resolve.
However, Dhaka did not turn Narendra Modi's visit to celebrate Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's birth centennial into a bargaining chip for now. The foreign minister of Bangladesh already said that the Teesta River water sharing issue is not on the agenda.
This has thus become a tour of exchanging good will. For example, Narendra Modi brought 1.2 million vaccine doses with him as a gift for Bangladesh.
"My visit will not only be an occasion to convey appreciation for Bangladesh's remarkable economic and developmental strides under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visionary leadership, but also to commit India's abiding support for these achievements," said Mr Modi in his statement a day before his visit.
India has also promised to donate around 150 ambulances on the occasion of the birth centennial of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "This is a gift from our prime minister. He will make the formal announcement," said Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
This warming relation between the neighbouring countries necessarily shows the BJP Hindutva government's desire not to lose India's most trusted regional ally to the Chinese influence.
But what does this goodwill from the BJP government mean for Bangladesh?
To answer that, one of the few things to consider here is the undeniable power of the BJP in India. BJP is not only the ruling party of India; rather, it looks like the most formidable political force right now that disarrayed the opposition political establishment at a loss and continues to grow in popularity in almost every part of the country.
So, whether the Bangladesh government likes the Hindutva politics of the BJP or not, the undeniable reality is to get along with them. Since Bangladesh does not have many options but to get along with India, whichever party rules the country in that light, Dhaka has to get along.
With the basic question resolved, Dhaka must look forward to utilising the warming up relationship with the BJP government to solve the unresolved issues. This seems a befitting time because India's ruling regime looks like it has now a good sense of resolving issues with the neighbours. For example, it came to an understanding with Pakistan at Line of Control (LOC).
So, utilising the governments' goodwill, Dhaka needs to gear up the Teesta water share issue immediately. Perhaps the BJP would like to wait for a move in Teesta issue until the election in West Bengal province is over. But Dhaka shouldn't be lazing up for Indian internal complications. No matter what the election results in West Bengal, Dhaka must hurry up in approaching the existential issue with India forcefully than ever before.
If the Imran Khan-led Pakistan and BJP government can come to an understanding at LOC, why not Bangladesh solve the water sharing issues with India?
Besides, the border killing that never stopped, or the reiterating BJP rhetoric of pushing back so-called illegal Bangladeshi migrants from India to Bangladesh that already has created an unpleasant case in Assam, the trade relations often regarded as imbalanced should also be a big part of the bilateral discussions over the next few months.
Dhaka perhaps should also keep in mind that if BJP takes over West Bengal, a new wave of citizen registration may grip the province to corner Bangladesh into further uncertainty. So for diplomacy's sake, the faster Dhaka begins the tough talks, the better for the country.
All the sweet talks and gift exchanges will mean nothing in the test of time if the longstanding issues are not resolved.