Bangladesh will be greatly benefited if it increases its trade with northeast India, according to the former Union Minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Participating in a discussion “Bangladesh-India relations” here, the diplomat-turned-politician said New Delhi had a vision 2020 programme of Rs. 20 lakh crore for the northeast. He, however, pointed out that the region lacked managerial, technical and technological support to implement the plan.
Mr. Aiyar invited Bangladesh to invest in businesses in the region as India had withdrawn all restrictions on Bangladeshi investments two years ago. The growth of the region would rise to 9 per cent, from the current 4 per cent, with huge public investments. It would be wise for Bangladesh to involve itself in the region's development programme.
“I can assure you that Bangladesh's economy will improve if it does business with the northeast,” he said.
Mr. Aiyar, who is here leading a group of industrial leaders from the northeast, said India-Bangladesh relations had improved greatly after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi. The Prime Ministers of both nations had opened up new opportunities with promises of allowing each other to use their lands for transit and trans-shipment.
India would allow trucks from Nepal and Bhutan to reach Bangladesh via India. Similarly, it would allow trucks from Bangladesh to the two countries.
The huge trade gap between India and Bangladesh would be bridged through the transit facility to India, as Bangladesh would earn a good amount of foreign currency by collecting toll. Bangladesh could also be economically benefited by allowing India to use its land for a gas pipeline from Myanmar, he noted.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter also spoke at the discussion, which was presided over by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute president Farooq Sobhan.