Dhaka to be benefited if trades with NE India: Says Mani Sankar


Mani Sankar Aiyar speaks at a discussion on “Bangladesh-India relations” at Bangladesh Enterprise Institute conference room in the city yesterday. Photo: STAR

The Daily Star
July 12, 2010

Former Indian union cabinet minister Mani Sankar Aiyar yesterday said Bangladesh will be highly benefited if it trades with Northeast India.

The Indian government has a vision 2020 programme of Rs 20 lakh crore for its Northeastern (NE) region but the region lacks managerial, technical and technological support to implement the programme, he said at a discussion on “Bangladesh-India relation” at Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI).

Bangladesh can have a share of the amount by assisting the NE region in executing the programme, he added.

Even Bangladesh can invest in businesses in the region as India withdrew all restrictions on Bangladeshi investments two years ago.

Addressing the programme organised by BEI, Aiyar said growth of NE region will rise to 9 percent from present 4 percent with the huge public investment and it would be wise for Bangladesh to involve itself in the development programme of the region.

He said Bangladesh never looked to the NE region rather it was always interested in West Bengal.

“I can assure you that Bangladesh’s economy will improve if it does business with Northeast India,” he observed.

Aiyar who arrived here on Saturday is leading a group of industrial leaders from the Northeast region aiming to use his diplomatic skills to improve trade between the landlocked region and Bangladesh.

Assuring Bangladeshi people that India has no intention to establish imperialism, he said Indo-Bangladesh relation improved greatly after the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India.

He also said the prime ministers of both the countries have opened up new opportunities with their words to allow each other to use their lands for transit and transshipment.

India will allow trucks from Nepal and Bhutan to come to Bangladesh via India and similarly it will allow trucks from Bangladesh to the two countries, he continued.

The former Indian minister said the huge trade gap between India and Bangladesh would be bridged through the transit facility to India, as Bangladesh will earn a good amount of foreign currency collecting tolls.

Bangladesh can also be economically benefited by allowing India to use its land for gas pipeline from Myanmar, he noted.

Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter also spoke at the talks presided over by BEI President Farooq Sobhan.

Eminent people of Bangladesh including Dr Kamal Hossain, former foreign minister M Morshed Khan, Hasanul Haq Inu MP, retired civil and military bureaucrats, diplomats, educationists attended the talks.

12 July, 2010