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India’s Development Cooperation With Bangladesh: A Participatory Research

The participatory research project on India’s development cooperation with Bangladesh examines the development cooperation between the two countries from various perspectives by identifying development projects implemented so far, analyzing its impact on people and arriving at policy prescriptions, if any. The research findings will have implications on India’s future practice and policies related to development cooperation and South-South cooperation.

Development cooperation is an important component of India's contemporary relations with Bangladesh. India has a long history of engaging with Bangladesh as a development partner and views Bangladesh as a large and significant development partner in South Asia. India. India was the first country to officially recognise Bangladesh and provided it with development assistance worth INR 500 million in the form of grants and loans. (The current value of this aid is equivalent to approximately INR 1.029 billion). Over the past 15 years, Indian development assistance to Bangladesh has ranged from INR 20 million to INR 5.8 billion annually, and to over US$ 1 billion if one were to include the Line of Credit India extended in 2010.

India as Bangladesh’s biggest neighbour has a responsibility to promote and develop cooperation and mutual interest not only for its own national interest but also for peace and stability of the region as a whole. Aid and assistance given by India today will have profound impact on the growth and development of Bangladesh and as well as Eastern and North Eastern regions of India. India‘s aid and assistance may seem marginal if regarded in absolute figures, yet they are effective within the wider framework of social, economic and political cooperation that India offers to Bangladesh.

In this background, PRIA and Oxfam India have embarked on a research initiative to:
• Analyse the official discourse on development cooperation (emerging from the Indian and Bangladeshi governments)
• Analyse the discourse on development cooperation emerging ‘from below’, i.e., narratives emerging from people directly impacted by these projects and whether they corroborate official discourse

The research will be conducted in Bangladesh, targeting beneficiaries of development partnership projects, nodal agencies, Bangladeshi CSOs and MEA officials.

Methodology / Key components
The study on “India’s Development Cooperation in Bangladesh” will follow a phased approach in the face of evolving clarity which is expected to emerge during the research process. The following key phases comprise the research study:

Formative research: Including a macro-analysis through secondary sources and literature review to understand the nature, modalities/instruments of financing, trends in investment flows and sector-wise investment flows. A key question that will be explored is how some of the espoused values related to South-South Cooperation (e.g., demand driven, non-interference, non-conditionalities, mutual benefit, etc.) are actually practiced through development projects. In addition, textual and discourse analysis will augment this understanding. The articles published in several journals dedicated to strategic and international studies, op-eds published in Indian and selected Bangladeshi newspapers and journals, and other newsfeeds will be reviewed to inform this macro analysis.

Advisory committee: An Advisory Committee will be formed to seek guidance in the research methodology. The composition of the committee will be chosen in such a manner so that the reputation of the members can add value to various stages of the research and dissemination of its findings.

In-depth field based research: The formative research is expected to enhance the understanding of the nature of development cooperation with a specific focus on the development projects commissioned in Bangladesh. The study will be undertaken in Bangladesh with a focus on one or two community based social development projects like health, education, etc. The in-depth research will include semi-structured interviews with concerned officials and implementing agencies in both India and Bangladesh. In addition, a few Indian and Bangladeshi scholars who have been involved in various research studies on India-Bangladesh development partnership will also be interviewed. The second stage of the in-depth study will include interviews and focus group discussion with the project affected communities, direct beneficiaries and other stakeholders in Bangladesh. It is proposed that some local civil society groups will also be involved in providing local logistic support, access to the communities, as well as contributing to ‘bottom up’ analysis of project impacts.

Key outputs
Country case studies, synthesis paper, policy brief and workshop reports


Oxfam India






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