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Verma stresses ‘multimodal connectivity’ between Bangladesh, India

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma today highlighted the importance of ‘multimodal connectivity’ in unlocking the true potential of bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and India.

“The future of our partnership lies in efficient multimodal connectivity – encompassing road and rail, inland waterways, and coastal shipping,” he said.

The envoy was speaking at the Sultanganj Port of Call and the flagging-off of a cargo vessel from Sultanganj of Godagari upazila in Rajshahi to Maia in Murshidabad in Indian state of West Bengal, said a press release issued by Indian High Commission here.

This inauguration marks the first of the five trial movements of cargo vessels between Maia Port in India and Sultanganj, Godagari Port of Call in Bangladesh on Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route 5 and 6.

There is significant potential for cargo movement through this IBP Route, which is expected to give new impetus to the Inland waterways ecosystem in both countries.

State minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the cargo vessel movement from Sultanganj River Port.

Rajshahi City Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Litton, Parliament members of Rajshahi-1 Omor Faruk Chowdhury and Chapai Nawabganj-3 Md. Abdul Wadud, and Senior Secretary to the Shipping ministry Md. Mustafa Kamal attended the event as special guests while officials from the shipping ministry and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), were also present, among others.

Verma said that the re-opening of the Maia-Sultanganj river route as a step which will benefit the local economies on the two sides of the border as well as also contribute to national economies and strengthen sub-regional cooperation and integration.

Noting that India was today Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia, the High Commissioner hoped that better connectivity links and new measures like trade in Indian Rupee will further enhance Bangladeshi exports to India.

Verma said connectivity landscape between India and Bangladesh has rapidly been changing. “With our contiguous geography and shared history and culture, we are actually re-connecting our two countries,” he added.

The High Commissioner said negotiation on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Bangladesh is going to start soon.