A quick win-win formula is required
Bangladesh has agreed in principle for gas pipeline connecting Myanmar and India to pass through its territory. Besides yearly income of $100 million in wheeling charges and $25 million in maintenance charges, Bangladesh wants to levy a transit fee on the pipeline. Local politics has also prevented Bangladesh from exploiting its own gas reserves and earning export revenue.
While the change in government in New Delhi has improved the atmospherics between India and Bangladesh, it remains for the Khaleda Zia government in Dhaka to take a more enlightened approach to its trade relations with India. Delaying the pipeline benefits no one. If Bangladesh continues to holds on to its maximalistic expectations it may make end up making other energy options more attractive. Given India’s increasing appetite for energy resources, it may well run out of patience on the western side and begin to reconsider the Iran-Pakistan pipeline. The Myanmar-Bangladesh pipeline has an advantage; but no advantage is permanent.