Regional implications of Bangladesh PM Hasina’s mango diplomacy with India

:: Indrajit Kumar
প্রকাশ: ১ বছর আগে

In continuation of the previous tradition, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent seasonal mangoes as gifts to Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Apart from this, she also sent mangoes for former president of Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi and other Indian dignitaries.

As a goodwill gesture, the Bangladesh prime minister had gifted mangoes to Indian dignitaries in the past, the Bangladesh High Commission said in a press release on Tuesday.

This year, the gift baskets were carrying popular varieties of mangoes like “Himsagar and Lengra,” the juicy fruits collected directly from the Rajshahi region, which is known as the mango capital of Bangladesh.The Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi delivered the gifts to the offices of the respective dignitaries through diplomatic channel.

Sheikh Hasina, as a mark of close friendship and goodwill gesture, sent 1,000kg of “Amropali” mangoes as a gift for the then Indian president Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year and 2,000kg of “Haribhanga” mangoes for them in 2021.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sent 600 kg of mangoes as a gift to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, officials said Monday.

“Mangoes comprising the ‘Himsagar’ and ‘Langra’ variants have been sent to Banerjee, as part of diplomatic efforts. Last year, too, we had sent mangoes,” an official in the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission here said.

She also sent mangoes to India’s West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and all the chief ministers of north-east India last year.

The relationship between Bangladesh and India has reached a new height during the tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian c

Like the previous year, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, sent delicious mangoes as a gift to the Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma. Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh Ruhul Amin, accompanied by his spouse Dr. Nobonita Hoque, handed over 300 kilos of the finest varieties of mango, ‘Himsagar’ and ‘Lengra’ to the Chief Minister yesterday at Koinadhora State Guest House. The Chief Minister extended thanks to Sheikh Hasina for her beautiful gesture in sending the seasonal, juicy fruits from Bangladesh.

Mangoes were also sent to the Chief Ministers, Governors, dignitaries, government officials, and civil society members of all Northeastern states. The Assistant High Commissioner said that the Prime Minister of Bangladesh has sent the finest mangoes for the dignitaries of the Northeast. It will further strengthen the excellent relations between the two countries, he added, stated a press release.

It appears that the mango culture in Southeast Asia around Bangladesh has become quite crowded. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina has sent hundreds of kg of mangoes to the President and Prime Minister of India, the President and Prime Minister of Nepal, the King and Prime Minister of Bhutan, the President of Maldives, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Mangoes have also been sent to the Chief Ministers of some Indian states like West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram on behalf of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Most are Rangpur’s famous delicious potted mangoes. There are also some Fazli, Langra, Himsagar. National fruit jackfruit has also been sent to some countries. Preparations are underway to send gifts from the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to some countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia. Tea, honey, pineapple, organic spices, etc. have been sent as gifts to the Prime Minister from several states of India. Even in this terrible time of corona epidemic, the development of mutual relations, solidarity and cooperation with the concerned countries through mango policy will definitely help to make a very positive and far-reaching contribution to the expansion of communication and trade. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed their thanks and gratitude to the Bangladesh Prime Minister through letters. Recently, a workshop organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was held at the Agricultural Research Council Auditorium in Sherebangla Nagar. The topic of the workshop is – Export of fruits and vegetables to increase the foreign exchange earning potential. 20 types of obstacles in the export of fruits and vegetables of Bangladesh to different countries of the world were identified in the workshop on elimination of obstacles in the export of horticultural crops, development and application of technology. 16 are recommended for elimination. First of all, work starts with 7 types of fruits and vegetables. These include two fruits – mango and lemon. And 5 vegetables are – local bean, brinjal, cucumber, potole and corolla. It is hoped that the process of increasing the export of fruits and vegetables abroad will be started soon by removing the obstacles in a phased manner. In this regard, Bangladesh embassies located abroad should have an effective role and initiative. Above all, instead of airplanes, arrangements should be made to export fruits and vegetables by ship and sea. Then it will be cost effective and competitive in the global market. Fruit and vegetable fair is held every year in Mahasamaroh at Kharbari in Sherbangla Nagar of the capital. 112 types of vegetables were displayed in the exhibition which attracted a lot of visitors. Lately, cultivation of some types of foreign vegetables including mushroom has become popular in the country. Due to the increase in awareness about public health, the trend of eating vegetables and fruits among people has increased considerably. However, the sad fact is that many vegetables are wasted every year due to the huge amount of production. Farmers are often deprived of fair prices due to oversupply in the market; Even its production cost does not rise. Surplus vegetables are fed to cattle. Still destroyed. Storage and processing methods of vegetables including air-conditioned godowns are also very limited. In this situation, there is no change except to increase the export of fruits and vegetables to different countries of the world. Cabbage produced in Shivganj of Bogra is being exported to Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. There are reports of export of potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables not only from Bogra, but also from two other districts including Jessore. Bangladeshi mangoes are also going to some countries including UK, Europe. This time, the possibility of exporting mangoes to neighboring countries has been created through the mango policy. The exporters claim that they buy vegetables directly from the farmers at the field level. In this they get good price in cash. Then following the proper process and cooling system, the vegetables are exported to the respective countries by shipping them in containers. However, in this case, they requested proper cooperation from the concerned government departments and port authorities. In these cases, the cooperation of the agriculture department and related parties is essential.

Was the weapon of kings, still the ‘mango diplomacy’ tool is the old diplomatic technique of sending mangoes to Mamata-Hasina to strengthen friendship. Diplomacy around mangoes is not new, be it the present time or the reign of kings. Mamata maintains mango diplomacy by sending Himsagar, Langra and Laxman Bhog to Delhi. But not only in domestic politics, but also in solving the tension between the two countries, or as a tool for expanding trade abroad, it is unrivaled. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikha Hasina has also chosen us as ambassadors of brotherhood and warmth.

Author: Indrajit Kumar; Educator, Op-ed Columnist, International Affairs Analyst and Freelance Researcher.