Bangladesh has proposed new regional connectivity initiatives to India at the fourth Joint Consultative Commission meeting led by two foreign ministers.
After the meeting on Sunday, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali in his statement said India agreed to “positively consider” these proposals.
He praised India as the “most important, trusted and friendly” neighbour.
His Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj said both countries achieved “a great deal, only because of the friendship between us and our understanding that neighbours must help each other.”
“India is now supplying 660MW of much-needed power to the Bangladesh people and this figure will double, if not triple, in the foreseeable future,” she said.
Ali said the two neighbours were cooperating in many ways to enhance connectivity through road, rail and waterways.
“We proposed some new regional connectivity initiatives,” he said.
Those include: Dhaka-Chennai-Colombo air connectivity, Chittagong-Kolkata-Colombo shipping connectivity, Panchgarh-Shiliguri rail link, internet connectivity with Bhutan through Indian territory, trade route connecting Nakugaon Land Port [Bangladesh] to Gayleyphung [Bhutan] via Dalu [India].
He said during the meeting they also agreed that BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement will be implemented between Bangladesh, India and Nepal [BIN] through exchange of letters keeping provision for Bhutan to join later.
Bhutan earlier expressed its inability to continue with the BBIN now due to its domestic compulsion.
Ali said they agreed that MoU for trilateral hydropower cooperation among Bangladesh, India and Bhutan would be signed soon.
“India also agreed to facilitate import of electricity to Bangladesh from hydro projects in Nepal,” he said.
In additional to the current import of 660 MW, India agreed to supply 340 MW more electricity from Tripura through Comilla grid, he said.
“We have also discussed new proposals for supply of electricity from West Bengal and India’s north-east.”
Sushma came to Dhaka earlier on Sunday in her second visit to Bangladesh as external affairs minister of India, the first being her first stand-alone overseas visit since assuming office in 2014.
She said India attaches the “utmost importance” to its relations with Bangladesh.
“Our partnership today touches upon virtually all areas of human endeavour.”
Both sides also agreed to continue to work closely at the international level and promote “mutually beneficial” collaboration at multilateral level including at the UN.