Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated three Indian-assisted development projects via video conferencing on Wednesday.
The three projects are the Akhaura- Agartala Cross-Border Rail Link, Khulna – Mongla Port Rail Line and Unit – II of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant in Rampal, Bangladesh.
The inauguration of rail and power sector projects between India and Bangladesh lay focus on strengthened ties and partnership between the two countries.
“The joint inauguration of these important projects manifests the firm friendship and collaboration between our two friendly countries. I would like to thank PM Modi for the warm hospitality during my visit in September 2023 to attend the G20 Summit,” the Bangladesh Prime Minister said
“I express my gratitude for your commitment to strengthening the bonds of friendship between our two countries, Sheikh Hasina said.
The Akhaura-Agartala Cross-Border Rail Link project has been executed under a Government of India grant assistance of ₹392.52 crore extended to Bangladesh. The length of the rail link is 12.24 km with a 6.78 km Dual Gauge rail line in Bangladesh and 5.46 km in Tripura.
The Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line Project has been implemented under the Government of India’s concessional Line of Credit with a total project cost of USD 388.92 million. The project entails the construction of approximately 65 km of broad gauge rail route between Mongla Port and the existing rail network in Khulna. With this, Mongla, the second largest port of Bangladesh, gets connected with the broad-gauge railway network. The Maitree Super Thermal Power Project, under an Indian Concessional Financing Scheme loan of 1.6 billion US dollars, is a 1320 MW Super Thermal Power Plant located in Rampal in Khulna Division of Bangladesh. The project has been implemented by the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited which is a 50:50 Joint Venture company between India’s NTPC Ltd and Bangladesh Power Development Board. These projects will strengthen connectivity and energy security in the region.
During the inauguration ceremony, Sheikh Hasina also extended greetings to Prime Minister Modi and the people of India in advance of Diwali.
“I would conclude her by conveying warm greetings in advance for the upcoming Diwali. I wish Your Excellency PM Modi and the people of India a very Happy Diwali,” the Bangladesh Prime Minister said.
Over the last decade, the Bangladesh-India Friendship Dialogue has served as a critical platform for strengthening bilateral relations between the two nations. The theme of this year’s Dialogue is ‘Fostering a comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership’, BNN News reported.
Earlier this March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, a cross-border energy pipeline, built at an estimated cost of ₹377 crore, of which the Bangladesh portion of the pipeline was built at a cost of approx. ₹285 crore, which has been borne by the Government of India under grant assistance, read Prime Minister’s Office press release.
The Pipeline has the capacity to transport 1 Million Metric Ton Per Annum (MMTPA) of High-Speed Diesel (HSD). It will supply High-Speed Diesel initially to seven districts in northern Bangladesh.
The operation of India- Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline will put in place a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment-friendly mode of transporting HSD from India to Bangladesh.
Moreover, in September, the 15th Meeting of the Joint Working Group on Trade (JWG) between India and Bangladesh was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the two nations discussed various bilateral issues, including removal of port restrictions, the groundwork for the commencement of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
The meeting was co-chaired by the Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, Vipul Bansal and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh, Noor Md. Mahbubul Haq.
The Joint Working Group on Trade (JWG) Meetings between India and Bangladesh are held annually to discuss key trade-related issues and “explore opportunities for economic and technical collaboration, promotion, facilitation, expansion and diversification of trade between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.”
Moreover, these meetings play a crucial role in quickly resolving bilateral issues by removing trade barriers, simplifying customs procedures, improvement of infrastructure, logistics, and transit facilities to facilitate smoother cross-border trade.