February 13, 2024 / 02:58 PM IST

India is Bangladesh's largest export destination in Asia: Indian High Commissioner

India is Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia: Indian High Commissioner

India is today Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia, the Indian High Commissioner here has said, highlighting the importance of multimodal connectivity in unlocking the true potential of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

High Commissioner Pranay Verma made these remarks on Monday after Shipping Minister Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inaugurated the Sultanganj port, establishing naval connectivity between Bangladesh’s Rajshahi and India’s Murshidabad.

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“The future of our partnership lies in efficient multimodal connectivity – encompassing road and rail, inland waterways, and coastal shipping,” he said.

This inauguration 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 and 6.

There is significant potential for cargo movement through this IBP Route, which is expected to give new impetus to the Inland waterways ecosystem in both countries.

Verma said that the re-opening of the Maia-Sultanganj river route is a step that will benefit the local economies on the two sides of the border as well as also contribute to national economies and strengthen sub-regional cooperation and integration.

Noting that India was today Bangladesh’s largest export destination in Asia, the High Commissioner hoped that better connectivity links and new measures like trade in Indian Rupee will further enhance Bangladeshi exports to India.

Verma said the connectivity landscape between India and Bangladesh has rapidly been changing.

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“With our contiguous geography and shared history and culture, we are actually re-connecting our two countries,” he added.

The High Commissioner said negotiation on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Bangladesh is going to start soon.

India is the second-largest import source for Bangladesh, trailing only behind China. Dhaka’s exports to India reached a total of USD 1990 million in 2021-22, whereas imports from India amounted to a USD 13.69 billion in the same period.

In FY23 (until February), Indian exports to Bangladesh tallied at USD 10.63 billion, equivalent to 2.6 per cent of India’s total exports. Conversely, Bangladesh’s imports from India during the same period totalled USD 1.86 billion, constituting 0.28 per cent of India’s overall imports.