Daily Editorial Analysis for 9th July 2021

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Deepen Indo-Bangla ties

Indo-Bangladesh ties

  • Building mutual confidence through dialogue and diplomacy, both India and Bangladesh have grown in exemplary ways.
  • Deepening trade and transport linkages remain a priority for both nations. However, in the face of a mutating Covid­19 and imminent climate risks, enabling a green, inclusive and resilient economic transition is essential.
  • India and Bangladesh should not only make mutual progress but also chart a pathway for others in the Bay of Bengal region to follow.
  • There is a tremendous scope for voluntary, non­binding G20 principles for quality infrastructure investment, among others, to be the guiding force.
  • For example, by building infrastructure resilience to threats posed by rising sea levels, particularly to a relatively more vulnerable Bangladesh.
  • Not only will this ensure a “positive economic, environment, social and development impact of infrastructure development but also create a virtuous cycle of economic activities,” while making infrastructure investments attractive.
  • Development of greenfield deep-sea ports in Matarbari in Bangladesh and a proposed transhipment port at Great Nicobar Island in India could underpin that potential.
  • Bilateral efforts in operating, advancing and making navigable their trans­boundary rivers, and reviving and developing rail links are among growing avenues of making greater climate mitigation strides.
  • The scale is huge as India and Bangladesh continues to diversify their trade and transport linkages to the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is equally reinforcing for existing road­based and emerging inter­modal transit options for the landlocked Bhutan and Nepal.
  • Bilateral reforms viz., the Protocol on Inland Water Transit & Trade and the Coastal Shipping Agreement, could also provide better prospects for recovery and growth for these countries.
  • Such initiatives also underpin greater economic synchronization in the region — a 2020 Bangladesh­Bhutan Preferential Trade Agreement, for example.
  • Inauguration of a new passenger train, Mitali Express, between New Jalpaiguri (India) and Dhaka (Bangladesh) has galvanised prospects for a wide­ranging, intra­regional, electric­rail passenger and freight logistics transformation.
  • Landlocked Bhutan, Nepal and the north­eastern States of India could potentially, via the Siliguri Corridor, get rail­based access to markets (and vice-versa) and ports in Bangladesh.
  • Addressing the infrastructure gaps and developing new rail networks with an integrated electric transformation focus, while electrifying the existing ones, remain vital.
  • It could provide a basis for developing cold supply chains for perishable fruits and vegetables, temperature sensitive commodities, products and medicines.
  • Similarly, the India­Bangladesh Friendship Bridge at Sabroom in Tripura land­links the North­East to the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh’s Chattogram port.
  • Sabroom is around 72 km from the port. New and potential transport and logistics linkages could be developed with green principles to enhance their competitiveness.
  • As bilateral connectivity linkages deepen, India and Bangladesh could prioritise and advance a clean, renewable energy and digital infrastructure supported transition.
  • Boosting vessels and vehicles manufacturing, which makes them adaptable to cleaner fuels, and infrastructure capacity are equally important.
  • Reinforcing digital infrastructure investments and making progress in digital trade facilitation measures could help the two countries decouple emissions from economic growth.
  • A proposed India­Bangladesh Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement could enable a green framework for bilateral trade and economic relations.
  • This could help Bangladesh emerge stronger during its transition into a developing country in a few years.


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