Bus, trains, power on PM Modi’s Bangladesh agenda

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 01, 2015 23:43 IST

Enhancing connectivity — rail, road and water — and boosting economic ties will form a substantial part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka on June 6 and 7.

Both sides are likely to sign several deals on issues such as improving connectivity to ensure greater people-to-people contact.

Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina will flag off the bus service between Kolkata and Agartala via Dhaka and the Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati bus service. The two countries are keen to strengthen railway connectivity, particularly to revive railway links which were in existence before 1965. They are set to sign a coastal shipping agreement to facilitate sailing of small vessels from India to various ports in Bangladesh which now go through Singapore.

India will also push for involvement of its companies in setting up ports in Bangladesh. India feels improving connectivity with Bangladesh will help link the N-E region with southeast Asia which will bring economic development to the N-E.

On the trade front, there will be efforts to spur Indian investment in Bangladesh and an enabling MoU may be signed to facilitate setting up of Special Economic Zones by Indian companies.

Ties between India and Bangladesh are on an upswing ever since the Hasina government came to power in January 2009. Bangladesh and India share a 4096-km-long border, most of which is porous, and both the countries are likely to try and find ways to enhance cooperation on security, particularly to further contain N-E insurgent groups.

There has been a perceptible decline in activities of Pakistan-backed fundamentalist elements in Bangladesh and Modi would like to further cement bilateral ties with the Hasina government considering India’s strategic interests.

In the power sector, India is willing to enhance supply to its neighbour by another 500 mega watts.

3 months to implement LBA

The Union home ministry is looking at a time frame of around three months for exchange of enclaves under the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh in West Bengal, sources told HT.

PM Modi will formalise the LBA during the his trip. Under the LBA, India will transfer 111 enclaves to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh will transfer 51 enclaves to India.

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