Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen today said Bangladesh Government is working promptly to establish the country as regional hub of connectivity to ensure inclusive development in entire South-Asian region.
“Taking advantage of its unique geographical position in the region, Bangladesh is offering itself as a gateway to landlocked Nepal, Bhutan and the north-eastern States of India”, he added.
He made the remark at the Trade & Commerce Session of the Silchar-Sylhet Festival organized by the India Foundation and the Indian Government’s Ministry of Culture in Silchar, Assam, a press release said here.
Foreign minister said banking on a strategic location, Bangladesh wants to be a regional Hub of connectivity – not just through roads, rails, waterways and air linkages, but also for power transmission, transportation of natural gas, telecommunications and people to people contact.
“As India is making efforts to convert the North Eastern Region (NER) from ‘land-locked’ into ‘land linked’, Bangladesh stands integral for Indian Prime Minister Modiji’s (Narendra Modi) foreign policy priorities of ‘Act East’ Policy as well as Neighborhood First policy,” he added.
Noting that Bangladesh, India relationship has gone ‘beyond the strategic partnership level’ Momen said, “The relations between Bangladesh and India have reached an exceptional level under the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
Pointing out that the pattern of trade between Bangladesh and NER is distinctly different from the rest of India, Momen suggested diversifying the export basket as Jamdani sarees, food items and other consumer products are in huge demand in NER.
“We can also introduce pharmaceuticals, ceramics, leather goods and bi-cycles as potential export products to this region,” he said.
The foreign minister also stressed for more trade collaboration between two countries by way of involving business communities and trade bodies to find avenues towards deriving two-way trade as India attributed only 1.15% of FDI inflow in Bangladesh, in the fiscal year of 2021-22.
He urged Indian investors to consider possible investments in infrastructure projects, manufacturing, in energy and transport sectors.
“The Governments of our two countries are sincerely exploring the avenues to further facilitate our trade and investment relations and have agreed to introduce negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement,” he said.
The session was chaired by the Mizoram Governor Kambhampati Hari Babu while Chandra Mohan Patowary Assam government’s Environment & Forests and Act East Policy Affairs and Welfare of Minorities Minister was the guest of honor.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Mustafizur Rahman also present on the occasion, among others.
The foreign minister has been invited as the chief guest at “1st Silchar-Sylhet Festival-2022” being held on December 2-3 at Silchar in Assam.
On Friday, the foreign minister reached India via Sutarkandi border in the Indian part crossing the Shewla Land Port at Sylhet border.