Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 12/2012

Bangladesh-India Relations: Sheikh Hasina's India-positive Policy Approach

Bhumitra Chakma

November 2012

S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies


After becoming prime minister for the second time in January 2009, Sheikh Hasina radically overhauled Bangladesh's foreign policy approach toward India and brought Dhaka much closer to New Delhi. Consequently, Bangladesh-India bilateral relationship has improved significantly in the past four years. The intriguing question is, why did Sheikh Hasina adopt an India-positive foreign policy orientation? This paper examines Bangladesh-India relations and provides an in-depth analysis of the sources of Sheikh Hasina's India-positive foreign policy approach. Borrowing from International Relations theoretical literature, the paper looks at three levels - personal, unit/nation, and regional/international - as sources of Hasina government's India policy. It concludes that no particular factor or level is adequate to explain the foreign policy behaviour of the Hasina government. A heuristic approach needs to be adopted to explain various components of Sheikh Hasina's policy approach toward New Delhi.