Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma has joined the inauguration ceremony of vessels movement between Maia Port in West Bengal and Sultanganj Port in Rajshahi.
Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, the state minister for shipping, inaugurate the much-needed river port today (12 February).
In his remarks at the ceremony, High Commissioner highlighted the new river route as part of the growing economic and connectivity links between India and Bangladesh and a visible symbol of the recent transformation of their relationship.
He stressed the importance of multimodal connectivity in unlocking the true potential of bilateral cooperation and described the re-opening of the Maia-Sultanganj river route as a step which will not only benefit the local economies on the two sides of the border, but will also contribute to national economies and strengthen sub-regional cooperation and integration.
Pranay Verma noted that India is Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia. He hoped that better connectivity links and new measures like trade in Indian Rupee will further enhance Bangladeshi exports to India.
Talking about other forward looking initiatives, High Commissioner noted the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Bangladesh, for which negotiations are going to start soon.
The inauguration of the Sultanganj, Godagari Port of Call and the flagging-off of a cargo vessel from Sultanganj (Bangladesh) to Maia (India) marks the first of the five trial movements of cargo vessels between Maia Port in India and Sultanganj, Godagari Port of Call in Bangladesh on Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route 5&6.
There is significant potential for cargo movement through this IBP Route, which is expected to give new impetus to Inland Waterways ecosystem in both countries.
Other dignitaries at the event included Mayor of Rajshahi City Corporation AHM Khairuzzaman Litton, Members of Parliament from Rajshahi-1 Omor Faruk Chowdhury and Chapainawabganj-3 Md Abdul Wadud, and Senior Secretary Shipping Md Mustafa Kamal who attended the event as Special Guests.
Officials from BIWTA, and Ministry of Shipping of Government of Bangladesh were also present.