Transit is a highly sensitive issue in Bangladesh. After the separation of India in 1947, the Pakistan government requested road transit facility for communication between West and East Pakistan. At that time India was reluctant to do so. Pakistan also requested India to allow its Calcutta port for East Pakistan. Because, Chittagong port was not ready to meet the need of the new born nation. India didn’t allow Pakistan to use Calcutta port.
After the liberation war in 1971, relation between Indian and new sovereign Bangladesh was very good as India helped Bangladesh in the war. Then India managed to sign first inland water transit protocol with Bangladesh. Indian northeastern states are nearly land locked, this is why it always has been trying to get water, rail and road transit facility. But Bangladesh has been very cautious. It always tied to ensure that India is not imposing any non tariff barrier on Bangladeshi products. Bangladesh also wants an assurance from India that it will not withdraw water in the upstream. Because, India has a tendency to do so. Bangladesh argues that international laws should be followed in international rivers.
Many nationalists argue that as India is not treating Bangladesh as a friendly nation, Bangladesh should not do so.
But India is managing to renew the inland water transit protocol regularly. The latest is signed yesterday. According to this latest minute, Bangladesh will get 10 crore taka in a year as maintenance fee. The vessels not only carry Indian goods, also imports Bangladeshi goods.