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Business News/ News / World/  India, Bangladesh to sign pacts on strengthening rail, road and shipping linkages
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India, Bangladesh to sign pacts on strengthening rail, road and shipping linkages

The memoranda of understanding to be signed during Modi's visit to Dhaka is expected to help increase trade between both countries and improve connectivity with India's North-East

A 2014 photo shows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the 18th Saarc summit in Kathmandu. Photo: PTIPremium
A 2014 photo shows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina at the 18th Saarc summit in Kathmandu. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: India and Bangladesh are expected to sign several agreements on strengthening rail, road and shipping linkages between the two countries during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka next month, two people familiar with the development said.

Ahead of his 6-7 June visit, Modi spoke to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on the phone earlier this week, one of the people cited above said. On Wednesday, Bangladesh high commissioner to India, Syed Moazzem Ali also met Modi to discuss the visit, the person said.

Modi’s engagements in Bangladesh include talks with Sheikh Hasina, a call on Bangladeshi president Abdul Hamid, an address to Bangladeshi scholars and intellectuals, inauguration of the new chancery complex of the Indian High Commission and a possible visit to the 12th century Dhakeshwari temple. All programmes of the prime minister are expected to be confined to Dhaka as per the schedule being prepared, the first person said.

The memoranda of understanding on transport links to be signed during the visit will help increase trade between India and Bangladesh and improve connectivity with India’s North-East, the second person cited above said. There are some more agreements in the pipeline and “we hope that they will be tied up before the prime minister visits", the second person said.

Flights already operate between Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai in India and Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh. The Kolkata-Dhaka Maitree Express, inaugurated on 14 April 2008, runs thrice a week between the two countries. There are two direct bus services between Dhaka and Agartala, capital of Tripura, besides the Dhaka-Kolkata service.

According to a PTI report, Modi is expected to flag off another bus service between Dhaka and Guwahati via Shillong in Meghalaya.

Trade and transit through waterways between the two countries is regulated by the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) signed in 1972. There are four routes under the PIWTT and five ports of call identified in each country to provide facilities to the vessels of the other country engaged in inter-country trade. About 1.5 million metric tonnes of goods are transported through this route, according to data posted on the ministry of external affairs website.

Modi’s first visit to India’s eastern neighbour follows a unanimous go-ahead by Parliament to implement a four-decade-old land boundary pact with Bangladesh earlier this month, raising hopes for signing of an accord on sharing of Teesta waters between the two countries.

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Published: 28 May 2015, 05:18 PM IST
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