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    Bangladesh Cabinet Approves Key Proposal for Giving India Access to Two Ports

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    After signing the final agreement, India will be able to use Bangladesh’s Chattogram and Mongla ports for freight transport to its northeastern states.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): The government of Bangladesh has approved a proposed agreement that would allow India to use two of its ports. Access to Bangladeshi ports would facilitate faster transport of shipments to and from far-flung areas in India's northeast.  

    "A draft of the communication network being built for connectivity between the Chattogram and Mongla ports has been approved for India's signing," Bangladesh Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam said.

    "The agreement would be effective for five years with a position of auto-renewal for another five years [while] either of the countries could cancel it giving six-month notice," Shafiul Alam added.

    According to the terms of the agreement, only Bangladeshi vehicles and vessels would be used to carry the goods inside Bangladesh. Bangladesh's government has also suggested four routes through which goods would be transported from Bangladesh to India.

    On Tuesday, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the 130 km India-Bangladesh Friendship Oil Pipeline between Siliguri in West Bengal, India, and Parbatipur in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the inauguration from New Delhi via video link. The two leaders also inaugurated two railway projects: the construction of the third and fourth dual-gauge rail lines in the Dhaka-Tongi section and the dual-gauge rail line in the Tongi-Joydevpur section of Bangladesh Railway.

    The importance of its northeastern states is being emphasized by the Indian government and the access of Bangladesh's Chattogram and Mongla ports will boost connectivity in the region.

    Presently, goods to India's northeastern states are taken by rail and road from Mumbai or Chennai through Kolkata to Guwahati, which is costly and time-consuming. 

    Meanwhile, India has been vouching for access to Bangladesh's Chittagong. China has plans to build a deep-sea port in Bangladesh; therefore gaining access to the Chittagong port would help India balance China in the region.

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    Tags:
    strategic decision, deep-sea, bilateral cooperation, connectivity, Narendra Modi, Sheikh Hasina, India, China, Bangladesh
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