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Experts: Removing trade barriers key to improve Indo-Bangla relations

  • Published at 10:46 pm September 2nd, 2018
Biplab Kumar Deb-Tripura
File photo: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb speaks at an event on strengthening Indo-Bangla ties at Agartala on September 2, 2018 Pranab Shil

The Tripura chief minister laid emphasis on the importance of border trade which would cement the camaraderie between India and Bangladesh

The economic prosperity of Bangladesh and India could be improved by developing border infrastructure and removing basic trade barriers, top politicians and experts said at a seminar conducted by the Agartala Press Club yesterday.

The two-day seminar inaugurated by Biplab Kumar Deb, the chief minister of the northeast Indian state of Tripura, was titled “Discussion on Strengthening Indo-Bangladesh Relationship.” During the seminar, Deb stated that the under-construction bridge over River Feni in southern Tripura would make transportation of goods between the northeastern states and the rest of the world easier. The transportation takes place via the Chittagong seaport in Bangladesh.

Media adviser to the Bangladesh’s prime minister, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Secretary General - Bangladesh Federal Union of JournalistsShaban Mahmood, RAM Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury MP along with many other dignitaries from Bangladesh and Tripura also attended the seminar.

Chowdhury expressed optimism over the elevation of Tripura to new heights under the leadership of chief minister Deb. He invoked the memory of deceased former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Paying his respects to Vajpayee, he said, “Atalji was a trusted friend of Bangladesh. The people of our country know him as a great Indian leader.”

Chowdhury also expressed his gratitude towards Tripura for sheltering scores of refugees from Bangladesh during the “Operation Searchlight” - a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan on March 25, 1971.

“During the genocide unleashed by Pakistan, a deluge of humanity from Bangladesh took asylum in various states of India. 60% of them were sheltered in Tripura,” the media adviser said.

Speaking on the friendship between Bangladesh and Tripura, Chowdhury said, “Change of guards in Bangladesh as well as Tripura is a consistent phenomenon. However, our friendship never changes.”

He also extended an invitation to the Tripura chief minister on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Chowdhury said, “Biplab Deb has his roots in Bangladesh. And we are proud to feel someone with roots in our country is now seated as Tripura’s chief minister.”

“I conclude my speech with the slogan which has been chanted all through our war for liberation, ‘Jai Bangla, Jai Bangabandhu’,” he said as he ended his speech.

In his address, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said: “Loading and unloading of goods from Bangladesh to Tripura is being done on a substantial scale and leading to hike in prices. Transportation costs would undergo a reduction if Bangladeshi trucks carrying goods are allowed to be delivered to its destinations – go-downs or spots on the Indian side.”

Asserting that Sabroom would be the gateway to Northeast India once the Feni bridge is constructed, Deb said he has been personally monitoring the progress of bridge-related works. 

“Nineteen pillars have already been constructed and the bridge is expected to be completed by December 2019,” he said.

The Tripura chief minister also laid emphasis on the importance of border trade which would cement the camaraderie between India and Bangladesh. 

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