Assam’s delegation in Dhaka to improve trade, connectivity
A 32-member parliamentary delegation of Assam arrived in Bangladesh on a four-day visit yesterday, aimed at improving trade and connectivity between Bangladesh and the north-eastern states of India.
Assam Legislative Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary is leading the delegation, which also includes close to 30 officials of Assam, one of the seven northeast Indian states.
Iqbalur Rahim MP, whip of Bangladesh National Parliament, received the delegation at a city hotel.
The delegation arrived in Agartala, a bordering state, on November 18 and stayed overnight there before leaving for Bangladesh by bus through Akhaura yesterday, foreign ministry officials said.
Today, the delegation will call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
The delegation will visit the mausoleum of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara, Gopalganj and later call on Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and attend a dinner to be hosted by the minister.
On November 22, they will visit the Pran Industrial Park before leaving for Assam the same day via Akhaura.
"This is an interesting tour initiated by Assam's speaker of the legislative assembly. He says it is a study tour. They want to learn about the development of Bangladesh," a foreign ministry official told this correspondent.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during her visit to Delhi in September, had invited the seven chief ministers of India's northeast to visit Bangladesh to help further improve connectivity and trade with the Seven Sister States and India as a whole.
Asked if the visit of the parliamentary delegation is a part of that, the foreign ministry official said it was not a part of that, but a part of an overall effort to improve trade and connectivity with northeast India.
Under India's Look East policy, the Indian government has been developing the communication system of its northeast.
Indian leaders have in the recent times lauded Bangladesh for contributing to the peace and stability there by implementing a zero-tolerance policy against insurgents.
Through the Seven Sisters, India is also connecting the Asean countries, including Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Officials said Bangladesh has immense opportunities to boost trade with India's northeast and then establish access to the Asean countries as India and Bangladesh have already advanced in terms of building connectivity through roads and railways.
Bangladesh also allows the India to use the Chattogram and Mongla ports to transport Indian goods from one part of India to another, which reduces the cost and time of transportation.
"No doubt, there are huge potentials of trade and connectivity between Bangladesh and northeast India, but we need to create awareness among the businesses and the people as a whole," an official said.