Frankly, I blame Henry Kissinger. Way back in the 1970s, he called Bangladesh "an international basket case". At the time, no doubt, it was. Television images of the frequent devastating floods it suffered confirmed this characterisation. So the description stuck.
Today, Bangladesh is a different country. The world may be slow in changing its opinion—although I am not so sure of that—but we in India have no right to be trapped in the 1970s. Yet, that's precisely what the junior home minister revealed last weekend.
"Half of Bangladesh will be empty (vacant) if India offers citizenship to them," said minister of state for home, G Kishan Reddy. "Half of Bangladeshis will come over to India if citizenship is promised." Apart from the fact that he was undiplomatic and offensive, Reddy also revealed that he's ignorant of the true state of Bangladesh. Worse, he doesn't know that, in comparison to India, Bangladesh is performing far better on many, if not most of the indices that determine quality of life.
First, Bangladesh is growing at a rate that we in India can only envy and hope to achieve two or three years down the road. Whilst we slip below 5 percent, Bangladesh is racing ahead at 8 percent.
Second, while Nirmala Sitharaman desperately strives to attract investment leaving China by offering 15 percent rates of corporate tax, Bangladesh is one of the two countries where it's actually going. Consequently, high streets in London and New York are brimming with clothes made in Bangladesh, but very few produced in Ludhiana and Tirupur. No wonder Bangladesh's merchandise exports grew in double digits in fiscal 2019; India's sharply fell.