Can India with the help of the United States stop the rise of Islamist forces in Bangladesh?


The rise of Islamist forces in Bangladesh is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. This has become a serious concern to Bangladesh’s nearest neighbor – India, because of the past track record of the Islamist forces such as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which had almost openly supported anti-India notion and extended patronization to various insurgency and militancy outfits inside India. Under such a scenario, it is well-anticipated that any Islamist party such as BNP returning to power would pose serious security threats to India, the region and beyond. Many analysts are trying to understand if India, with the active help of the United States can stop Islamists from returning to power in Bangladesh.

Replying to this question, a key policy advisor to the Biden administration, seeking anonymity said, While India and the United States can play a supportive role, it is essential to acknowledge that addressing this challenge requires the active involvement and commitment of the Bangladeshi government and society.

India and Bangladesh share a historical, cultural, and geographical bond. The two countries have a long-standing partnership that encompasses various areas of cooperation, including security, trade, and people-to-people ties. India can work closely with Bangladesh to share intelligence, enhance border security, and exchange best practices in countering extremism.

Strengthening collaboration between intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities can help identify and prevent the activities of radical groups that pose a threat to both countries.

The United States, as a global leader in counterterrorism efforts, can also support Bangladesh in its fight against extremism. The US can provide technical assistance, capacity building programs, and training to strengthen the Bangladeshi security apparatus. Additionally, the US can collaborate with Bangladesh on countering the financing of terrorism and promoting deradicalization initiatives.

However, it is important to recognize that countering the rise of Islamist forces requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond security measures. Socio-economic development, education, and addressing the root causes of extremism are crucial aspects of any strategy. The United States can support Bangladesh’s efforts in these areas by providing development assistance, promoting inclusive education, and fostering economic opportunities for marginalized communities. Empowering moderate voices and promoting religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue are also essential components of countering extremism.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Bangladeshi government to address the rise of Islamist forces with the help of its international allies, particularly India. The government can play a vital role by implementing effective policies, ensuring the rule of law, promoting secularism, and protecting the rights of all citizens. The ruling party in Bangladesh needs to abandon its decades-old religious orthodoxy and wrong foreign policy by normalizing relations with the State of Israel, which is one of the prioritized foreign policies of the Biden administration. This decision shall have extremely effective, positive and important impact for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her party. It will also make it Biden administration’s key allies and once such steps are signaled, US President Joe Biden may include Bangladesh in his itinerary during his India visit this September. Bangladesh government needs to understand, it is crucial to create an environment that discourages the spread of extremist ideologies and fosters social harmony.

India and the United States can support Bangladesh in its efforts to counter the rise of Islamist forces. Collaboration in intelligence sharing, security cooperation, capacity building, and development assistance can contribute to these efforts. However, it is imperative to recognize that the primary responsibility lies with the Bangladeshi government and society. By adopting a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes of extremism, promotes inclusivity, and upholds democratic values, Bangladesh can effectively tackle this challenge and ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for its citizens.

Now the question is – what would happen if Islamists return to power in Bangladesh and restart patronizing insurgency inside India?

The scenario of Islamists returning to power in Bangladesh and reigniting insurgency inside India raises serious concerns about regional stability and security. While it is crucial to approach this hypothetical situation with caution, analyzing the potential consequences can shed light on the potential challenges and implications for both countries.

Bangladesh, a secular democracy with a predominantly Muslim population, has made significant progress in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in countering extremist ideologies and maintaining a peaceful and inclusive society. However, a hypothetical situation where Islamists return to power in Bangladesh and patronize insurgency inside India would likely have severe repercussions.

The resurgence of Islamist forces in Bangladesh and their support for insurgency inside India would strain the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Trust and cooperation built over the years would be severely undermined, leading to increased tensions and a breakdown in diplomatic channels. Trade, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people ties would also suffer as a result.

The revival of insurgency inside India with support from Bangladesh could potentially lead to an escalation of cross-border conflict. India would be compelled to take stringent measures to safeguard its national security, which may involve strengthening border control, launching counterinsurgency operations, and intensifying intelligence-sharing efforts with other neighboring countries. This could result in heightened military activities and border skirmishes, further destabilizing the region.

If Islamist forces regain power in Bangladesh and support insurgency in India, it would also have significant implications for Bangladesh’s internal security. The country would face increased radicalization, domestic instability, and the potential for extremist groups to exploit the situation to further their own agenda. The government would be tasked with dealing with these internal security challenges, which may divert resources and attention from other crucial developmental priorities. While the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been committedly confronting extremist groups, the course would turn 180 degree if Islamist forces such as Bangladesh Nationalist Party succeed in returning to power.

The resurgence of insurgency in India with support from Bangladesh would have broader regional security implications. It could potentially provide a safe haven for extremist groups, facilitate the spread of radical ideologies, and encourage collaboration among various extremist elements across borders. This would pose a significant threat to the stability and security of neighboring countries as well, including those in South Asia.

Political instability and security threats resulting from the return of Islamist forces and the patronage of insurgency would inevitably impact economic growth and social development in both Bangladesh and India. Investor confidence would dwindle, trade would suffer, and development projects could be put on hold as resources are redirected to address security challenges. The overall well-being and livelihoods of the people in both countries would be adversely affected.

It is important to reiterate that the above analysis is based on a hypothetical scenario. The governments of India and Bangladesh, along with other regional stakeholders, have a vested interest in maintaining peace, stability, and cooperation. Both countries have shown a commitment to counterterrorism efforts and have been cooperating in various areas, including intelligence sharing and security collaboration. It is in their mutual interest to continue strengthening these ties and working together to address any potential security threats.

The resurgence of Islamists in power in Bangladesh and their patronage of insurgency inside India would have far-reaching consequences for regional stability, bilateral relations, and internal security. It is essential for both countries to remain vigilant, maintain open lines of communication, and collaborate on intelligence-sharing and counterterrorism efforts to prevent such a scenario from materializing. Regional cooperation and a commitment to democratic values, secularism, and inclusive governance are vital in addressing security challenges and promoting peace in the region.

Counterterrorism experts are saying, Islamist forces returning to Power in Bangladesh shall pose a serious security threat to India and the region. They also fear, pro-Islamist terrorist organizations such as Bangladesh Nationalist Party may succeed in returning to power with the help of the Biden administration as it has recently hired Hunter Biden as its lobbyist. Following Hunter’s appointment as lobbyist, Washington has been showing exposed hostility towards the ruling Awami League, while the US Department of State earlier has announced a new visa policy for Bangladesh clearly with the agenda of intimidating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government as well as members of civil-military administration.

The rise of Islamist forces and their potential return to power in Bangladesh would undoubtedly raise serious concerns about security, not only for Bangladesh but also for neighboring countries, particularly India. The implications of such a scenario could have far-reaching consequences, impacting regional stability, cross-border relations, and the overall security environment. Understanding the potential security threats is essential in comprehending the gravity of the situation.

If Islamist forces regain power in Bangladesh, there is a real risk of increased radicalization and the spread of extremist ideologies. This would provide fertile ground for various extremist groups to recruit new members and carry out activities with impunity. The ideological alignment between such groups in Bangladesh and India could lead to the establishment of cross-border networks, further facilitating the spread of radicalism.

A return to power by Islamist forces in Bangladesh might result in the revival of patronage for insurgency and terrorist activities, not only within Bangladesh but also across the border in India. This could manifest in the form of logistical support, safe havens, and training camps for extremist groups operating in India. The increased cross-border movement of militants and the exchange of arms and resources would pose a grave threat to India’s internal security.

The resurgence of Islamist forces in Bangladesh would present significant challenges to border security. It would require India to enhance its vigilance and strengthen its border control measures to prevent the infiltration of militants, weapons, and contraband. The increased militarization of the border and the potential for cross-border attacks would strain the resources and capabilities of Indian security forces.

Islamist forces in power might exacerbate intercommunal tensions within Bangladesh, which could spill over into neighboring countries. This could lead to sectarian conflicts, communal violence, and social unrest. The resultant influx of refugees and the displacement of populations could further destabilize the region and create additional security challenges.

Regional Destabilization: The return of Islamist forces in Bangladesh would have wider regional implications, potentially destabilizing the entire South Asian region. It would encourage the collaboration and coordination of extremist groups across borders, posing a shared security threat to countries in the region. The resulting security vacuum could also attract international terrorist organizations, exacerbating the situation further.

To counter the potential security threats posed by Islamist forces returning to power in Bangladesh, a comprehensive approach involving various stakeholders is necessary:

Strengthening Counterterrorism Cooperation: India and Bangladesh must bolster their cooperation in intelligence sharing, joint counterterrorism operations, and capacity building. This includes increased coordination between security agencies, exchange of information on extremist networks, and joint efforts to disrupt terrorist financing.

Promoting Social and Economic Development: Addressing the root causes of extremism is crucial. Both countries should focus on promoting social and economic development, providing educational opportunities, and addressing grievances to prevent the radicalization of marginalized communities.

Enhancing Border Security: India and Bangladesh need to collaborate closely on border security measures. This involves sharing real-time intelligence, conducting joint patrols, and strengthening border infrastructure to prevent illegal activities and cross-border movement of militants.

Regional Cooperation: A collective effort involving all countries in the region is vital in countering the security threats posed by Islamist forces. This includes sharing best practices, intelligence sharing, joint training programs, and multilateral cooperation frameworks such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The return of Islamist forces to power in Bangladesh would undoubtedly pose serious security threats to India and the region as a whole. It requires a proactive and coordinated approach from both countries, along with regional cooperation, to counter these challenges effectively. Strengthening counterterrorism efforts, addressing the root causes of extremism, and promoting socio-economic development are essential in mitigating the security risks and ensuring regional stability and peace.


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