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Why Bangladesh is flying high at 50

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An aerial view of Dhaka’s emerging new skyline

  • No longer dismissed as a ‘basket case’, what does an economically resurgent Dhaka mean for New Delhi?
  • Warmer ties with India have meant disagreements are voiced in private amid public displays of bonhomie. Unresolved bilateral issues such as the sharing of Teesta river waters remain

NEW DELHI : Former Indian diplomat Veena Sikri first visited Bangladesh in 1991 as head of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The drive from the airport to her destination was dominated by greenery. “It was a turning point year which saw the end of military rule and democracy make a comeback," she recalled. Infrastructure was clearly a work in progress.

Returning after over a decade, in 2003, as India’s high commissioner to Dhaka, Sikri noticed palpable changes—high rises taking the place of single-floor bungalows as the upwardly mobile moved into apartments and shops gave way to malls. The streets were choc-a-bloc with reconditioned Japanese cars. In the countryside, agriculture was booming with farmers getting three crops a year from their fields.

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