India can now access Bangladesh ports

Bangladesh will allow South Asian nations, including India, to access its Chittagong and Mongla ports and is keen to revive connectivity in the region, the country`s Foreign Minister said here Wednesday.

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010, 23:13 PM IST

Agartala: Bangladesh will allow South Asian nations, including India, to access its Chittagong and Mongla ports and is keen to revive connectivity in the region, the country`s Foreign Minister said here Wednesday.

"Bangladesh government wants to revive the decades old rail, road and air connectivity with all south-east Asian countries, specially India, for the expansion of trade and economic activity," Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said while addressing a business summit here.

Countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, among other South Asian nations, will benefit the most, she said.

Earlier, access to these ports was denied to India and a few other countries due to security concerns raised by some opposition parties in Bangladesh.

The minister also stressed on greater economic cooperation between India and Bangladesh.

"The Southeast Asian region is the most poorly coordinated region in the world. Our mutual cooperation and coordination must be improved to a large extent to remove the common enemy - poverty," Moni stated.

Referring to the agreements signed during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s visit to New Delhi earlier this year, she said that the two countries are now focussing on implementing the various proposals.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said that his government is willing to supply electricity to power-starved Bangladesh from the two upcoming thermal power projects in the state, subject to central approval.

"If Bangladeshi businessmen want to set up any business establishments in Tripura, the state government would relax the norms," Sarkar added.

Tripura Industry and Commerce Minister Jitendra Choudhury said that the 260 km Dhaka-Chittagong highway can be accessed from Tripura through a short 11 km road, and is of strategic importance.

"This highway connects with with Chittagong port, one of the biggest international ports in Southeast Asia," he said.

"Development of transit and trans-shipment facilities via plains in Bangladesh and Tripura can help Bangladesh access a market that is estimated to be over $20 billion, more than twice the trade deficit between the two countries," the minister stated.

"Bangladesh has agreed to allow an Indian company to set up an information technology park at Ariapark, near Dhaka. Also, Tatas have decided to manufacture vehicles in Bangladesh, which will be exported all over the world," said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, president of India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"New Delhi has sanctioned Rs.12.50 crore for the development of land customs stations (LCS) located along the India-Bangladesh border," Indian envoy to Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter said, adding that trade between the two countries has huge scope for growth.

-IANS