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BD plans to restore pre-1965 rail links with India

  • Published at 01:42 am September 24th, 2016
  • Last updated at 01:44 am September 24th, 2016
BD plans to restore pre-1965 rail links with India
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu has said that Bangladesh will restore the pre-1965 railway connectivity with India, disrupted by the India-Pakistan war. “The government will bring substantive changes in terms of connectivity with India. We will restore the pre-1965 railway links on priority basis,” Amu told the third “North East Connectivity Summit” in Agartala on Thursday, reports NDTV. “Air connectivity between Guwahati and Dhaka and Shillong and Agartala via Dhaka can be explored after examining the commercial viability,” he said. Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar, known as BCIM region, is one of the richest in the world in terms of resources, the minister said. “The region with a population of 440m covers 9% of the world’s total area and 7.3% of the global gross domestic product.” Amu said: “Over the past seven years, Bangladesh and India have witnessed tremendous progress in almost all areas, including security, connectivity, power, trade and commerce. “To boost trade and commerce between Bangladesh and India’s north-east region, we are improving trade infrastructure, immigration, customs facilities, developing land ports. Bangladesh is north-east India’s natural business partner.” India’s External Affairs Ministry’s Joint Secretary Partha Satpathy said that India’s “Act East Policy” had been extremely successful in terms of diplomacy for development, regional security, energy security, political aspects and other vital issues. “Several connectivity-related projects are now underway to connect north-east India with south-east Asian countries. India is playing a vital role in important regional bodies like the South-east Asian Nations or Asean and Bimstec to provide greater global exposure to the regional grouping,” Satpathy said. Headquartered in Dhaka, Bimstec includes India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Myanmar for multi-sectoral technical and economic cooperation. Tripura Commerce and Industry Minister Tapan Chakraborty said that the northeast with 4% of India’s population and 8% geographical area had vast untapped resources. Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang emphasised on building road infrastructure, development and people-to-people connectivity. He opposed the border fencing with Myanmar, and instead asked the central government to undertake more developmental projects along the India-Myanmar border. Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said that resources of the northeast remained untapped due to the central government’s “impractical policies.” Addressing the summit, NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy said that it would aid, facilitate and monitor governmental schemes, plans and projects in the country. The three-day summit is organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and supported by the Tripura government. FICCI’s North East Advisory Council Chairman Ranjit Barthakur said during the summit, diplomats, officials and investors would discuss infrastructure development, information technology, healthcare, agriculture, bamboo plantation, connectivity, development of border infrastructure and development of road, air and water connectivity in the region.