Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami on Monday (29 August) said that his country is interested in developing a grid link for power supply with Bangladesh, adding that it will allow seamless power from Bhutan and Nepal.
"India has been very keen to develop synchronised grid connectivity. It will also allow seamless power from Bhutan and Nepal," he said at a view-exchanging meeting with the Editors' Council at a hotel in Dhaka on Monday ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India next week.
He said that enhancing trade and transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh can be a game-changer.
"The big challenge of trade between the two countries is the high cost as most of the trade happens through land routes, which is inefficient," he added.
He spoke on various issues of the bilateral relationship and sub-regional cooperation.
Doraiswami suggested simplifying the logistics as well as diversifying the trade routes, which can be rivers, seas, and rails that are low-cost and environment-friendly.
"India is also willing to allow Bangladesh to use Indian ports and railways etc for export to third countries like Nepal and Bhutan."
He further added that India has been very keen to develop synchronised grid connectivity. It will also allow seamless power from Bhutan and Nepal.
India and Nepal currently have reciprocal motor vehicle agreements, while Bhutan has a non-reciprocal motor vehicle agreement. For Nepal and Bhutan, the net benefit is comparatively small, the high commissioner said.
However, for Bangladesh and India, opening the transport connectivity benefit is huge, Doraiswami added. "If we have transport connectivity for passenger and goods vehicles, we would do it for the benefits of both Bangladesh and India. So, it will open up transportation connectivity to the entire sub-region."
This connectivity can also be expanded much further, for instance, maritime connectivity, he said.
Currently there is no direct shipping connectivity between Bangladesh and India.
"The goods that have to go by sea between Bangladesh and India go by Port Klang or Singapore or Colombo. This is ridiculous," he said.
Mahfuz Anam, president of the Editors' Council, moderated the discussion, in which Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, Ajker Patrika Editor Golam Rahman, New Age Editor Nurul Kabir, Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta, Ittefaq Editor Tasmima Hossain, Samakal Editor Mozammel Hossain, Bonik Barta Editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Sangbad Editor Altamash Kabir, and Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan were also present.