September 15, 2009, New Delhi
The recently constituted Sub-Regional Independent Taskforce on Connectivity and Cooperation consisting of leaders of civil society and business from both Bangladesh and India has welcomed the pro-active steps to promote Indo-Bangla trade taken by the two governments through the joint meeting of both Foreign Ministers which concluded recently in New Delhi.
In a statement, Siddhartha Mitra, the convener of the Indian segment of this taskforce and Director, CUTS International, welcomed the receptivity of both governments to the demands of civil society and business:
“Some of our recommendations made through a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India have been accepted in principle: the use of Chittagong as a sea port and Ashuganj as a river port by India for trading purposes; and facilitation of Nepal-Bangladesh and Bhutan-Bangladesh connectivity by India etc. In addition, a host of other measures have been proposed through the meeting which will further promote trade, cooperation and goodwill between the two countries.”
Mitra, however, pointed out that the unfinished task ahead was significant: the above measures have to be implemented well; there is a need for harmonisation and upgradation of Land Customs Posts and related infrastructure such as access roads, better air connectivity between Bangladesh and North East India and land connectivity for the North East to the rest of India through Bangladesh.
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