India, Bangladesh further widens connectivity network in region


India, Bangladesh further widens connectivity network in region

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday jointly unveiled e-plaques for the ground-breaking ceremony of two India assisted projects, via video conference that would strengthen ruling Awami League position ahead of polls end of year.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan, also joined the proceedings. The projects include: (a) India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline (b) Dhaka-Tongi-Joydebpur Railway Project. 

Earlier in the day Bangladesh cabinet approved access of Chittagong port by NE states of India enhancing intra-regional connectivity. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister described the cooperation between the two countries as an example for the world. He said that the two countries are neighbours, geographically; and family, emotionally. 

He said the proposed pipeline will further energize, not just Bangladesh’s economy, but also the relationship between the two countries. He expressed confidence that the proposed railway project will contribute to the process of strengthening national and urban transport in Bangladesh. 

The oil pipeline will supply high speed diesel to Bangladesh which is currently transported through cross-border train from Numaligarh refinery. 

India has so far offered over 8 bn USD Line of Credit to Bangladesh highest for any country in the backdrop of growing bonhomie between Delhi and Dhaka since Hasina returned to power in 2008. The cross-border connectivity projects through Bangladesh complement India’s Act East Policy and aim to smoothen connectivity with landlocked NE India. 

On Sep 10 the two PMs along with Chief Minister of West Bengal - Mamata Banerjee, and the Chief Minister of Tripura - Biplab Kumar Deb, jointly inaugurated three projects in Bangladesh, via video conference. 

These include: (a) 500 MW additional power supply from India to Bangladesh, through the existing Bheramara (Bangladesh) - Baharampur (India) interconnection. (b) Akhaura – Agartala Rail Link (c) Rehabilitation of the Kulaura-Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railways. 

The two PMs share strong chemistry and met several times in the recent past, including at the BIMSTEC meeting in Kathmandu, in Shanti Niketan, and during the Commonwealth Summit in London. 

India's support in upgrading Bangladesh's railway sector is based on Hasina’s vision of restoring connectivity to the way it was before 1965.

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