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NEW DELHI: Dhaka has urged India to make available the e-visa facility to Bangladeshi tourists.

"171 countries could apply for e-visas in 28 international airports and 5 cruise terminals of India. Bangladesh is not included in that list. Every year, a large number of Bangladeshi tourists visit India...," Bangladesh said during the trade policy review of India recently.

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E-visa services are rendered online and an Electronic Travel Authorization under the scheme is delivered in a time bound manner. In nearly 90% of cases, e-visas are processed within 24 hours of the submission of application.

According to the 'India Tourism Statistics at a Glance 2020' report by the tourism ministry, with 2.6 million tourists, Bangladesh accounted for 23.6% of total foreign tourist arrivals in India.

Replying to a question in Parliament, minister of state for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had said e-visa facility is granted to nationals of various countries after taking into consideration, the issues of security, inbound tourism, investments, bi-lateral relations etc. “Extension of this facility is an ongoing process. Presently, citizens of 171 countries can avail themselves of e- Visa facility extended by India."

During the review, Bangladesh also raised concerns over India’s new FDI policy that put restrictions on foreign investment from countries having land border with India. Though the policy is targeted towards China, Bangladesh may have become collateral damage being a neighbouring country.

"An entity of a country, which shares land border with India or where the beneficial owner of an investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the Government route. As a result, Bangladeshi investors face stricter investment regime compared to other investors whose countries do not share land borders with India," Bangladesh complained.

Prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday embarked on a two-day visit to the neighbouring country to attend golden jubilee celebrations of Bangladesh's independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "I am happy that my first foreign visit after the onset of the covid-19 pandemic will be to our friendly neighbouring country, with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties," Prime Minister Modi said in a statement before departure.

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