Foreign direct investment from India will likely reach $9 billion in future as investors from the neighbouring country have set their sights on Bangladesh, according to Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun.
At present, total Indian investment in Bangladesh is $3.11 billion with a rising trend.
“During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in April 2017, the private sector of India signed several agreements that are expected to increase investment in Bangladesh to upwards of $9 billion in future,” said Humayun during the opening ceremony of the INDEE Bangladesh 2020 at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Kuril yesterday.
The INDEE, or Indian Engineering Exhibitions, is one of the largest engineering expositions in the world.
The Engineering Exports Promotion Council (EEPC) of India, the premier trade and investment promotion organisation of the country, organised the three-day trade show in association with the commerce and industry ministry of India and the High Commission of India.
Indian investments in Bangladeshi products that could be exported back to India might help diversify Bangladesh’s export basket, reducing the trade deficit in the process, said Humayun, adding that investment is a crucial aspect of bilateral relations.
With the signing of a number of memorandums of understanding, a new era of Indo-Bangla relations could be ushered in, he added.
Bangladesh has emerged as a major trading partner of India with bilateral trade exceeding $10 billion. The value of Bangladeshi exports to India crossed the $1 billion-mark in 2019.
While addressing the programme, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das said that Bangladesh’s impressive 8 per cent economic growth rate presents a compelling case for trade and investment.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced 2020 as the year of light engineering products in Bangladesh and the INDEE 2020 provides an excellent platform to connect engineering equipment producers of India and Bangladesh,” she added.
India and Bangladesh can jointly build a global supply chain and integrate in a host of sectors, the diplomat said. For instance, since Bangladesh has emerged as a leading exporter of apparel, India could be a partner in the supply of textile machinery.
The Indian engineering industry is quite strong in the textile sector. Likewise, Bangladesh is a leading player in light and product engineering. “Therefore, forging partnerships with Indian firms could be beneficial,” Das said.
As Bangladesh aims to emerge as a modern economy, it would need more and more engineering capabilities, the bedrock of a modern industry, she added.
More than 120 Indian companies, including public sector enterprises like the Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Earth Movers, are participating in the exhibition.
Md Muntakim Ashraf, senior vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries; Ravi Sehgal, chairman of EEPC India; Mahesh K Desai, senior vice-chairman of EEPC India; and Suranjan Gupta, executive director of EEPC India, also spoke at the opening ceremony.