Bangladesh to allow transit of goods to India
Dhaka – Bangladesh’s cabinet on Thursday approved a deal to allow the transit of goods through its territory by India, using water, road and rail routes, an official said. “The government has decided to renew the previously signed deal styled Bangladesh-India Trade Agreement,” Abul Kalam Azad, the press secretary to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, told reporters after a special meeting of the cabinet that approved the draft agreement.
Under the agreement, signed in early 1980s, India has been enjoying limited transit facilities of goods using Bangladesh’s river routes. But New Delhi had been pressing Dhaka to allow transportation of goods to its troubled north-eastern “seven-sister” states through road and rail routes using Bangladeshi territory. “The government agreed to make a mutually beneficial agreement for the use of waterways, railways, and roads for commerce between the two countries for passage of goods between the places in one country through territory of the other,” the secretary quoted the agreement as saying.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s foreign secretary, Touhid Hossain, Thursday ruled out any possibilities of signing the transit deal with India during the visit of Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is expected to be in Dhaka on an official visit on February 9.
The cabinet also approved a proposal seeking renewal of bilateral capital investment, development and preservation agreement between India and Bangladesh. This agreement is expected to be signed during Pranab’s visit.