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Pranab for stronger regional connectivity

Dhaka-Delhi ties best ever since 1974, he says

Thursday 19 November, 2015 12:00:00 am

Pranab for stronger regional connectivity
Dhaka, Nov 19 (UNB) – Emphasising regional connectivity, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said regional connectivity and cooperation among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal must be deepened to ensure equal benefits for all.


“Connectivity by roads, railways, rivers, sea, transmission lines, petroleum pipelines and digital links must increase,” he said.


The Indian President was speaking at the Cavalry Memorial Lecture organised by the Cavalry Officers’ Association on Wednesday in New Delhi, according to a PID handout issued on Thursday.


Pranab said connectivity is the catalyst for deeper engagement and both countries launched three bus services that will connect their citizens in an easier way.


He said mutually beneficial arrangements allowing movement of goods from Bangladesh through India to Nepal and Bhutan and from mainland India through Bangladesh to India’s North-east have been worked out.


“These are significant steps forward which have been enabled by the close cooperation and frequent interaction of senior leaders of the two countries,” Pranab said.


He mentioned Bangladesh and India must come together as large consumers to develop and purchase cheap and clean energy. “There is huge untapped potential to develop renewable energy like solar and wind.”  


The Indian President also said countries must move towards greater economic integration. “South Asia should become an integrated market. A seamless assembly line as well as regional value chains for global markets should be created.”


Pranab said Bangladesh-India ties are a good example of progress in looking at a shared future. “India-Bangladesh relations today are the best ever since 1974.  They are based on mutual benefit, equality and respect for sovereignty,” he added.


Pranab said India and Bangladesh are not just neighbours but both are bound by the threads of history, religion, culture, language and kinship.  “India attaches the highest importance to bilateral relations with Bangladesh.”


He said Indian investments in Bangladesh will help create jobs and upgrade technology. 


These will make Bangladesh economy more competitive and increase exports, the Indian President said adding that it is for this reason the two governments have agreed to cooperate in setting up an Indian Special Economic Zone in Bangladesh. 


“This is another big step forward towards restoring historic connections between our business communities, which will serve both well,” Pranab said.


He said Bangladesh and Indian businessmen are already collaborating in areas like readymade garments, textiles, leather and pharmaceuticals.


There exists huge potential for doing the same in food processing, light engineering goods, shipbuilding and auto-components, the Indian President stressed.