Maitri Setu over Feni river | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 11, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:36 AM, March 11, 2021

Editorial

Maitri Setu over Feni river

Bangladesh should equally benefit from the project

As the bridge over Feni river (namely "Maitri Setu") has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on March 9, we are very hopeful that it will create new trade opportunities for the two countries and increase inter-regional trade. Reportedly, this 1.9-kilometre bridge has connected Ramgarh of Bangladesh to Sabroom, a town in the Indian state of Tripura, and is supposed to improve connectivity of south Assam, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura with Bangladesh and Southeast Asia. Apart from increased trade and business relations with India, we expect that Bangladesh would also be able to use this improved road connectivity to increase its trade relations with Nepal and Bhutan.

Since Bangladesh government has shown continuous commitment to India in strengthening its road connectivity in the region, we also expect India to show the same level of commitment so that Bangladesh can equally benefit from the projects. Bangladesh's cooperation in completing the Feni bridge project has clearly shown our willingness to be a part of the connectivity projects. Therefore, India should look into how Bangladesh can also benefit from it and provide us with new market opportunities for our products. Moreover, since Bangladesh's geographic location is extremely advantageous, we should take this as an opportunity and maximise our locational advantage as a connectivity hub between South and Southeast Asia, which has also been expressed by the PM. We hope that with improved road connectivity, there will be more foreign investment coming in, which is very important to maintain Bangladesh's economic growth.

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Overall, we think the completion of the Feni bridge, as part of a greater road connectivity project, is a very good development in the Bangladesh-India relations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has rightly said that "political boundaries shouldn't become physical trade barriers'' as she expected the Maitri Setu to significantly improve the socioeconomic condition of the people of Bangladesh and India. We only hope that Bangladesh can play an important role in regional trade and commerce with the cross-border transport systems that it is developing with India.

 

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