- India and Bangladesh signed several milestone agreements today, for enhancing inland and coastal waterways connectivity between the two countries for trade and cruise movements.
- The two countries have signed an agreement to use Chattogram and Mongla Ports in Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India.
- A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has also been signed for movement of passenger and cruise services.
- In addition to this, an addendum to ‘Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade’ (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh has been signed for inclusion of Dhubriin India and Pangaonin Bangladesh as new Ports of Call.
- These agreements will facilitate easier movement of goods and passengers between the two countries, giving an impetus to trade and tourism.
About the MOU:
- The two sides agreed to consider inclusion of Rupnarayanriver (National Waterway-86) from Geonkhali to Kolaghat in the protocol route and to declare Kolaghatin West Bengal as new Port of Call. Chilmari was agreed to as a port of call in Bangladesh. The new arrangement will facilitate movement of flyash, cement, construction materials etc from India to Bangladesh through IWT on Rupnarayanriver. Further, both sides agreed to declare Badarpur on river Barak (NW 16) as an Extended Port of Call of Karimganj in Assam and Ghorasal of Ashuganj in Bangladesh on reciprocal basis. The Indian side proposed for extension of the protocol routes from Kolkata uptoSilchar in Assam.
- The North Eastern states would get connected to directly to the ports of Kolkata and Haldia in India and Mongla in Bangladesh through waterways which would facilitate movement EXIM cargo and would also reduce the logistic costs.
- To bring about significant reduction in logistics cost and faster delivery of Bangladesh export cargo, Indian side raised the point regarding permitting ‘Third country’ EXIM Trade under Coastal Shipping Agreementand PIWTT by allowing transhipment through ports on the East Cost of India. Bangladesh agreed to hold stakeholder consultations and revert on the matter.
- Both sides have also agreed for development of Jogighopa as a hub/trans-shipment terminal for movement of cargo to Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Bhutan and notifying Munsiganj River terminal by Bangladesh Customs for routing third party Exim cargo through Kolkata Port.
- Discussions were also held to make Nakugaon Land Port in Bangladesh and Dalu ICP (India) operational and to connect Gelephu (Bhutan) as tripartite cross-border route.