India has offered free transit via its territory to Bangladesh for exporting its products to third countries through specified land customs stations, airports, and seaports.
In this regard, the Indian side invited Bangladeshi business community for using its port infrastructure for transshipment to third countries.
The Indian side informed it during delegation-level bilateral talks visiting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi held at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.
India has also been providing free transit to Bangladesh for exporting its products to Nepal and Bhutan, according to the joint statement issued on Wednesday.
The Bangladesh side requested rail connectivity with Bhutan through the newly inaugurated Chilahati – Haldibari route.
The Indian side agreed to consider the request, based on its viability and feasibility.
To make this and other cross-border rail links viable, the Indian side requested the Bangladesh side to remove port restrictions, inter alia at the Chilahati – Haldibari crossing.
The two leaders agreed to expedite efforts to improve bilateral and sub-regional connectivity through the early operationalization of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) motor vehicle agreement.
The Indian side requested the Bangladesh side for cooperation in initiating the new sub-regional connectivity projects including a highway from Hili in West Bengal to Mahendraganj in Meghalaya through Bangladesh and, in this regard, proposed preparation of a detailed project report.
In the same spirit, Bangladesh reiterated its eagerness to partner in the ongoing initiative of the India – Myanmar – Thailand trilateral highway project.
The two leaders underscored the importance of implementing bilateral and sub-regional rail, road, and other connectivity initiatives.
Both sides welcomed the ongoing bilateral initiatitations, such as conversion to dual-gauge of Tongi-Akhaura line, supply of railway rolling stock, capacity building for the personnel of Bangladesh Railway, sharing of IT solutions for improved services of Bangladesh Railway etc.
Both sides also welcomed the new initiatives, namely, the Kaunia-Lalmonirhat-Mogalghat-New Gitaldaha link, establishing a link between Hili and Birampur, upgradation of track and signaling systems and railway stations along the Benapole-Jessore line, link restoration between Burimari and Changrabandha, construction of a container depot at Sirajganj.
Moreover, both sides agreed to explore funding of these projects through a range of financial instruments under the bilateral development cooperation.
The Bangladesh side welcomed the gesture of India for providing 20 broad-gauge diesel locomotives on a grant.
The two leaders welcomed the successful completion of trial runs under the agreement on the use of the Chittagong and Mongla Ports (ACMP) and looked forward to its full operationalization at the earliest.
The Indian side reiterated its request to work towards the expansion of the bilateral Coastal Shipping Agreement of 2015 to include third-country Exim cargo.
The two sides agreed to expeditiously explore direct shipping links between the two countries.
They also agreed to implement the decision to start riverine services under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) routes 5 and 6 (Dhulian to Rajshahi -extension to Aricha) and 9 and 10 (Daudkandi to Sonamura).
The Indian side requested Bangladesh to complete the remaining infrastructure, immigration, and customs facilities for the operationalization of the Maitri Bridge over River Feni, connecting Tripura with Bangladesh, at an early date.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is making an official visit to India from September 5-8 at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
During the visit, she called on the President of India Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of Development of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy called on her.