Since independence, India has poured massive funds into the war-torn country. Aid commitments for 1972 and 1973 were $275 million, and India had provided 52 percent of Bangladesh‘s food by March. Visiting Calcutta in February, Rahman pledged the two countries to eternal friendship; the bond was formalized when a 25-year peace treaty on the Soviet pattern was signed during Mrs. Indira Gandhi‘s Dacca visit.
The donor-recipient relationship is not without strain, though critics of India are still confined to pro-Peking politicians and fanatical Muslim parties. Anti-Indian slogans have been heard; ‘Down with Indian expansionism’ posters appeared on the walls of Dacca University during the student elections.
Rahman has given warning that India and Pakistan cannot settle the future of Pakistani prisoners of war without Bangladesh. His insistence on putting 1,500 Pakistanis to trial for war crimes—and India’s discreet efforts to restrain him—could disrupt a relationship which is still delicately poised. Dacca’s decision to set up over 200 border check posts and impose passport and visa restrictions on Indian visitors suggests a cautious edging away from 1971′s rapturous unity.