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Bangladesh envoy in Northeast to leverage cross-border trade, tourism with region

High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, Md. Mustafizur Rahman with Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in Shillong on Wednesday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@SangmaConrad)

High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, Mustafizur Rahman is on an extensive tour of the Northeast as both countries continue to bolster efforts to promote multimodal connectivity by road, rail, and river in the region.

As he met Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in Shillong on Wednesday, Rahman spotlighted the willingness of the ruling Awami League government led by the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to boost trade ties with the northeastern part of India.

After the meeting, Bangladesh High Commission said in a statement that Meghalaya is ready to contribute to the bilateral trade between the two neighbours with Sangma being optimistic about deepening economic and trade ties.

“In particular, he highlighted the possibility of direct import of garments, plastic products, electronics, processed and frozen food from Bangladesh. The Chief Minister also laid emphasis on strengthening mutual partnerships in the global value chain and diversification of products. He sought Bangladesh’s cooperation in developing and flourishing Meghalaya’s tourism industry,” stated Bangladesh HC.

Rahman spoke on Bangladesh’s historical linkage with Meghalaya and emphasised enhanced connectivity with the state and increasing people-to-people interactions.

He mentioned that the investors have ample opportunity to invest in different sectors of Bangladesh and also urged on the reopening of closed land customs stations in the border areas at the earliest.

Before arriving in Shillong, the Bangladesh High Commissioner held a meeting with the Industries and Trade Fair Association of Assam in Guwahati.

He is also scheduled to visit several land customs stations along the border and hold meetings with the business communities and trade representatives at Dawki and Tamabil in Meghalaya.

“Improving connectivity and border infrastructure remains a top priority for us. It will lead to a major increase in trade between the two nations through the Northeast region of India and will be hugely beneficial for both the countries,” Atiqul Haque, Commerce Minister at Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, told IndiaNarrative.com on Thursday.

Earlier this month, Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone for the second cargo gate at the Integrated Check Post (ICP) of Petrapole – the largest land port in South Asia – in a major boost to the modernization of infrastructure along the international border between India and Bangladesh.

Enhancing connectivity with Bangladesh is further amplification of India’s ‘Act East’ Policy which focuses on New Delhi’s outreach towards its eastern maritime neighbours, especially the 10-nation ASEAN and island territories with a large Indian diaspora.

This includes promoting various initiatives like connecting the Northeast region with Bangladesh and investing heavily in infrastructure projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP).

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, the integrated development of Northeast India and Bangladesh as part of a broader Bay of Bengal community is also part of Japan’s new vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).

During his visit to New Delhi in March this year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listed three important regions – Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands – where multi-layered connectivity could overcome vulnerabilities and boost economic growth.

“Northeast India, which is surrounded by land, still has unexploited economic potential. Viewing Bangladesh and other areas to the south as a single economic zone, we will promote the Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh to foster the growth of the entire region,” said the Japanese PM.

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