India was a midwife in the birth of Bangladesh. She sent in her army to liberate the newly born independent nation, and even stood up to threats from the world’s mightiest power, the United States, which had sent its Seventh Fleet to the Bay of Bengal. Henry Kissinger, the US secretary of state, contemptuously referred to an infant Bangladesh as a “basket case”, meaning it would be hopelessly mired in poverty, hunger and disease. India welcomed and gave refuge to almost ten million refugees from the newly forming nation, as they fled military atrocity, hunger and deprivation.
Bangladesh from the very beginning was counted among the least developed nations as per the United Nations, and enjoyed the generosity of foreign aid in its development. It also had other concessions like the generalised system of preferences (GSP), which meant that its exports had duty free access to western nations. India lost its GSP status recently. Bangladesh got interestfree long-term loans from development banks like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.