Bangladesh to give India access to Chittagong port

Samudra Gupta Kashyap

India's long-pending request to Bangladesh to provide access to Chittagong port has finally become a reality. While an announcement to this effect was made by Bangladesh Commerce Minister Md Faruk Khan at Kalaichar in Meghalaya on the Indo-Bangla border on Saturday, Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has welcomed it, saying this would give a major fillip to trade in the Northeast.

“India can use not only Chittagong but several other ports that we have developed in the recent years. Other neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar can also use our ports for trade and commerce in future,” Khan said, while inaugurating a border haat between the two countries at Kalaichar on Saturday.

“We welcome the offer of Bangladesh to use Chittagong and other ports. This will, no doubt, provide tremendous benefit for trade and development of Bangladesh as well as the Northeast. India has already finalised and shared the draft modalities with Bangladesh in this regard,” Sharma said.

India has been pressing Bangladesh for access to Chittagong port for more than a decade. But it is only after the change of guards in that country that a positive move has been made in this regard. A formal agreement between the two countries for access to Chittagong port is expected to be signed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Dhaka in September.