The first India-Bangladesh Stakeholders’ Meet on trade and connectivity got off to an optimistic start here on Tuesday, with speakers stressing on better connectivity with the Northeast and multi-mode transport through the neighbouring country.
The two-day summit aims to “reconnect, revitalize and recreate” the age-old link between the Northeast and Bangladesh. A large delegation from Bangladesh is in the city to discuss issues related to trade and connectivity with their Indian counterparts.
Assam minister for industries and commerce Chandra Mohan Patowary set the tone by calling for closer economic and humane ties with Bangladesh.
“The Northeast may be landlocked and appear to be on the periphery of the country but we had a thoroughfare through Bangladesh in the past and it will be revived, thanks to the Act East policy. We have placed special emphasis on our ties with Bangladesh and Myanmar. We organised a trial run to Sylhet through Sutarkandi. Many positive developments have taken place that will benefit traders and the people. A standard operating procedure was signed recently for access to Chittagong and Mongla ports. We will develop international-standard river ports in Assam along with the multi-modal logistics hub at Jogighopa. This will help improve business and people-to-people links,” Patowary said.
Asian Development Bank country director Kenichi Yokoyama made a presentation on Prospects of Indo-Bangladesh Cross-border Trade in the Light of Recent Developments, where he highlighted facts and figures related to exports, imports and balance of trade between the two countries. He also talked about the ongoing connectivity projects in India and Bangladesh.
The Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, Riva Ganguly Das, said ties between the two neighbouring countries were based on history, language and secularism.
“The meet has been organised at a very opportune time as a SOP has been signed between the two countries by the respective Prime Ministers.India is according priority to neighbourhood policy and agreements on various subjects are envisaged”, she said.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, secretary in the ministry of textiles Ravi Capoor and health minister of Mizoram Lalthangalia delivered rousing talks on implementation of policies and framing an action plan to take things forward.
Other speakers on the inaugural day included Bangladesh commerce minister Tipu Munshi, Indian commerce secretary Dr Anup Wadhwan, economic affairs adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Mashiur AKM Rahman and others.