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India and Bangladesh launch cross-border infrastructure projects to boost transit and trade

Prime ministers Modi and Hasina have inaugurated several joint schemes as New Delhi steps us its economic outreach in the neighborhood

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, on Wednesday virtually inaugurated three key infrastructure projects, including two railway initiatives that are expected to boost further trade and connectivity between the two neighboring nations.

Speaking at the ceremony, Modi called it a “matter of joy” that they had connected to “celebrate the success” of their cooperation, declaring that their “relations are reaching new heights continuously.


Hasina, thanking Modi for the “warm hospitality” she received during her recent visit to New Delhi for the G20 summit, said the joint inauguration of the development projects “manifests the firm friendship and collaboration between our two friendly countries.

The three projects include an 8km (5-mile) cross-border rail link connecting Akhaura in Bangladesh to Agartala in India’s northeastern state of Tripura, as well as a new 64km (40-mile) rail line between Bangladesh’s third-largest city, Khulna, and Mongla Port, the country’s second busiest seaport. The projects will be executed under the agreement New Delhi and Dhaka signed back in 2013 to set up the first Indo-Bangla international railway in northeast India.

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Today, the distance from Agartala to Kolkata in West Bengal state is around 1,600 kilometers, which takes around 38 hours for a train to traverse,” a spokesperson for Indian Railways told RT. The distance will be reduced to around 500 kilometers, as they will now be able to travel via Bangladesh, and the journey will take around 16 hours. The official added that it will also enhance trade between the two nations, as the line has been built “with the aim of bringing both passengers and goods.” 


It will also give India access to Bangladesh’s Chittagong port, which handles over 90% of the country’s export-import trade. The project has been executed with Indian government assistance at the cost of $47 million.

Work on the Khulna-Mongla rail line project, which will cost around $388 million, is being carried out with 69.18% funding from the Indian Line of Credit (LoC), according to The Daily Star. Construction began in November 2016. The Khulna-Mongla rail line is expected to boost trade and commerce in Bangladesh’s southwestern region.

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The leaders also inaugurated the second unit of the 1,320 MW  Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant in the Rampal, Khulna division of Bangladesh. The power plant is a joint venture between the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and the Indian government’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). The project site is located 14 kilometers northeast of the Mongla port and is estimated to cost $2 billion.


November 01, 2023 at 09:15PM

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