The growing realization in India, at least outside the government, is that engagement shouldn’t be merely state or personality driven. India’s government should take note of this, and ease visa restrictions on citizens from neighboring countries. It’s time to showcase India’s soft power, rather than relying on the External Affairs Ministry.

India and Bangladesh are holding a special three-day film festival titled-’Bangladesh War of Liberation in Celluloid’ here to promote cultural diplomacy bilaterally.

From Pristina to Dhaka: My hope for two countries to join hands

When outsiders think about South Asia, they typically picture a region that’s wracked by violent religious extremism, a place where groups like the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba are active and deadly. Then there’s the image of clandestine nuclear proliferation...

Thus, if Bangladesh wishes to use soft power in international politics it has to display its dominant values... If a country's culture and ideology are attractive, other nations are more willing to follow. Precepts and teachings found in the literature of Tagore, Nazrul and Jashimuddin could be significant sources of our soft power.

The programme on May 21 here was yet another feather in the hat of the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi which has in the last two years unleashed cultural diplomacy. The cultural diplomacy has seen holding of a first-ever Bangladesh Film Festival in the Indian capital a year ago and screening of films by directors like Zahir Raihan.

In the subcontinent, there is really only one religion that unites India, Pakistan and Bangladesh: cricket.

Some 16,000 foreign guests are expected to come Bangladesh to see the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup matches. The host countries -- Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka -- are now busy giving a facelift to the tournament venues. But this mega event is especially significant for Bangladesh. This is the first time the country is going to co-host the cricket world cup.