India to get access to N-E states through B`desh

Last Updated: Sunday, August 8, 2010 - 21:04

Dhaka: India will get access to its
landlocked seven northeastern states through Bangladesh with
"unfettered movement of people and goods" as Dhaka seeks to
transform itself into a "regional hub" by boosting road and
railway connectivity in the country.

Underlining that the country had been isolated for too
long, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni Sunday said giving transit
facilities (to India) would bring economic benefit for
Bangladesh.

She said Bangladesh wants to transform the country
into a regional hub so that the entire region is
well-connected.

"When we are thinking about transforming Bangladesh as
a regional hub and when the entire region will be brought
under the connectivity, India will have access to its
northeastern states," she said, adding "unfettered movement of
people and goods will be taking place."

Relations between the South Asian neighbours were
chilly between 2001-2006 when the Islamist-allied BNP was in
power in Bangladesh and New Delhi regularly accused Dhaka of
harbouring anti-India insurgents and fostering militancy.

The bilateral ties, however, have been on the upswing
since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power after the
landmark general election in 2008.

In the largest-ever loan India has given to any
foreign country, New Delhi yesterday signed an agreement with
Bangladesh to extend a USD 1 billion credit line to Dhaka for
developing 14 infrastructure projects, mostly in the
communications sector.

The loan agreement was signed between the Exim Bank of
India and the Economic Relations Department of Bangladesh in
the presence of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Amid protests by the main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) over the massive loan, Moni described
it as a "win-win situation". She said it has been taken to
fulfill Bangladesh’s interests.

However, she underlined that India will also get
benefits from the deal.

"If connectivity is in place, all will get the
benefit," she said, adding "it will be a win-win situation".

"One must get out of the negative thinking that India
will benefit if roads and ports are developed,” Moni was
quoted as saying by The Star online today.

The Foreign Minister said if rail communications are
improved, Bangladesh will get the benefit and in some areas
while India will also get benefits.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, August 8, 2010 - 21:04

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