Better rail connectivity with India, Nepal, and Bhutan spells good things for Bangladesh.
It is, then, good to see the Bangladesh government all set to re-open the transborder rail routes to those neighbouring countries, in an effort to boost trade and tourism.
But it is not enough to just improve the rail links -- it remains a challenge to ease up immigration rules to enable hassle-free travel between our countries.
If we can manage to do that, the economic benefits to Bangladesh would be considerable.
Improved rail links will not only stimulate trade, but increased contact between peoples in the region will contribute to a positive exchange in ideas and knowledge spillovers, thereby easing business and improving bilateral relations.
Better connectivity within and beyond South Asia is imperative to Bangladesh meeting its own long-term development goals.
We can all learn from the European Union’s example -- Europe has sustained economic growth and a high standard of living through better transport links and the removal of visa barriers.
Bangladesh should aspire to similar possibilities.
Right now, many Bangladeshi products such as ceramics and jute are popular in India, but trade is slowed down because of the inefficient immigration process, and this must be changed.
As we move into the future, considerations should also be made for environmental sustainability, and for speed.
Ultimately, freight trains are cheaper than road or maritime transport.
Restoring rail connectivity with India, Nepal, and Bhutan through rail links will help Bangladesh achieve great things -- as long as we stay on track.