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India, Bangladesh decides to boost Himalayan-Bay of Bengal connectivity

Jun 24, 2024

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina announced plans to enhance regional connectivity at a summit on Saturday. The initiative aims to link the Himalayan states of Bhutan and Nepal with Bangladesh for improved business and investment opportunities in the Bay of Bengal region.

India boosts defense ties with Bangladesh as it tries to become a counterweight to ChinaAPIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, shakes hand with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.

PM Narendra Modi and PM Sheikh Hasina at Saturday's summit decided to boost regional connectivity connecting Himalayan States of Bhutan and Nepal with Bangladesh that would boost business and investments in the Bay of Bengal region.

As part of sub-regional connectivity initiatives, India will extend transit facilities for movement of Bangladesh goods to Nepal and Bhutan through railway network, according to the joint vision document agreed at the historic summit.

The two leaders also focused on early operationalization of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement to promote sub-regional connectivity. In this context, a new India-Bangladesh MoU on railway connectivity will boost regional connectivity.

The two leaders welcomed the decision to commence goods-train service from Gede-Darshana through Chilahati-Haldibari up to Hasimara via Dalgaon railhead (as and when operationalized) at the India-Bhutan border.

“Together, we will pursue a transformative partnership that advances the shared interests in promoting multi-faceted connectivity for both our countries as well as the entire region by transforming our geographical proximity into new economic opportunities. This will include connectivity in its broadest form – physical connectivity covering multi-modal transport and cross-border trade & transit infrastructure for seamless cross-border movement of people, goods and services, as well as energy connectivity and digital connectivity,” according to the vision document.

It was also decided to boost transmission of electricity from Nepal and Bhutan to Bangladesh via the Indian grid. “Wo e will continue to expand our power and energy collaboration and together develop intra-regional electricity trade, including of competitively-priced power generated from clean energy projects in India, Nepal and Bhutan, through the Indian electricity grid. To this end, we will expedite the construction of 765 kV high-capacity interconnection between Katihar-Parbatipur-Bornagar with suitable Indian financial assistance, to act as the anchor for our grid connectivity,” according to the vision document.

According to experts on South Asia India is embarking on a plan to economically integrate the economies of BBIN region besides Sri Lanka that would boost regional integration amid China’s expanding presence in South Asia.

[The Economic Times]

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