Dhaka, (UNI): Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said Bangladesh has historically been an important trade and transportation hub for the subcontinent. Referring to the trans-shipment agreement for the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports, the Foreign Secretary said fully operationalizing this agreement will bring economic benefits to a range of stakeholders from both the countries.
While North East India will benefit from steady supply of goods, the transport and logistics sector in Bangladesh will gain considerably, bringing prosperity on both sides of the border, said the Foreign Secretary.
The remarks were made during the interaction with the Bangladesh delegation at the 10th India-Bangladesh Friendship Dialogue held at Shimla between Feb 17 and 20. Outlining the remarkable progress in enhancing connectivity, he said more effective and sustained efforts are needed.
Highlighting the recent progress in enhancing connectivity through inland waterways, Foreign Secretary Shringla talked about the foodgrain cargo vessel which left Patna in Bihar on Feb 5 for Pandu in Assam through the waterways of India and Bangladesh.
Calling for learning from other countries and regions around the world, Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Gati Shakti’ initiative is upgrading connectivity in India using the multi-modal perspective.
He said the bilateral arrangements should reflect this paradigm to maintain the competitive advantage offered by the geographical proximity of the two countries.
Referring to the historic Ganga water sharing accord, Foreign Secretary Shringla said India and Bangladesh are working to finalise agreements on 54 shared rivers. Both the countries are exchanging best practices in the areas of river embankments and addressing the issue of salinity among others.
He said in view of the impact of climate change, more comprehensive cooperation is required in water conservation, fisheries, flood management and pollution in rivers. He called for greater synergies in climate action, preserving shared natural heritage such as Sunderbans etc.
Foreign Secretary Shringla reiterated India’s commitment to building the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework. He said it can be an important vehicle for enhancing economic cooperation, development and connectivity in the region. India is looking forward to the next BIMSTEC Summit, said the Foreign Secretary.