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Bangladesh is an important hub of trade and transportation in the subcontinent- Foreign Secretary Shringla

  • Integrity Education, Delhi
  • 22, Feb 2022
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Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said that effective management of the India-Bangladesh border is key to facilitating economic linkages and people-to-people contact. Speaking at the 10th India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue today, Mr. Shringla said, there is a need to work closely to strengthen border infrastructure to ensure smooth transit of goods and people while ensuring that illegal activities are kept under check.

He said, an example of this approach is the objective of establishing additional border haats. Mr. Shringla said, two way trade in the recent past has witnessed a quantum jump with exports from Bangladesh, for the first time, expected to cross two billion dollars this year. He said, early conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement is vital to enhancing this momentum in trade. The Foreign Secretary said, another area that needs concerted focus is connectivity.

He said, both nations have made some progress but there is a need to make more effective and sustained efforts. Mr. Shringla said, Bangladesh has historically been an important trade and transportation hub for the subcontinent. He said, India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement on the Use Chattogram and Mongla Ports for Transshipment of Goods to and from North East of India. The Foreign Secretary said, fully operationalizing this agreement will bring economic benefits to a range of stakeholders from both countries.

He said, while North East India will benefit from steady supply of goods, the transport and logistics sector in Bangladesh will gain considerably, bringing prosperity on both sides of the border. Mr Shringla said, India and Bangladesh have made remarkable progress in enhancing connectivity through the use of their inland waterways. He said, in a significant development, on 5th of this month, a cargo vessel carrying food grains sailed from Patna in Bihar and will travel through the waterways of India and Bangladesh to reach Pandu in Assam in early next month.

Mr. Shringla said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gati Shakti initiative is upgrading connectivity in India with a multi-modal perspective. He said, movement of products from locations of production to places of value addition and consumption needs multiple modes of transportation. The Foreign Secretary said, bilateral arrangements should reflect this paradigm to maintain the competitive advantage that the geographical proximity offers both nations. He said, both countries can learn a lot from the regions and countries around the world that have used this model to reduce logistical costs and enhance competitiveness.

The Foreign Secretary said, Bangladesh is commemorating Ekushey or Language Day. He said, 70 years ago on this day, the youth of the then East Pakistan made supreme sacrifices for the recognition and respect for their mother language and now the whole world celebrates this day as the International Mother Language Day. He paid tributes to the language heroes who laid down their lives for a very noble cause.

Referring to the historic Ganga water sharing accord, Foreign Secretary Shringla said that India and Bangladesh are working to finalize agreements on 54 shared rivers. Both the countries are exchanging best practices in the areas of river embankments and addressing the issue of salinity among others. He said that in view of the impact of climate change,  more comprehensive cooperation is required in water conservation, fisheries, flood management, and pollution in rivers. He called for greater synergies in climate action, preserving shared natural heritage such as Sunderbans, etc.

Foreign Secretary Shringla reiterated India’s commitment to building the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework. He said it can be an important vehicle for enhancing economic cooperation, development, and connectivity in the region. India is looking forward to the next BIMSTEC Summit, said the Foreign Secretary.

Sources : News on AIR