News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:
April 2021

Webinar Highlights Economic Potential of Bangladesh-India River Tourism

Experts discussed unique opportunities in river tourism between Bangladesh and India at a public-private dialogue on India-Bangladesh cross-border tourism and cruise operations organized by CUTS International on 29 April 2021.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Inland waterways, Transport, Tourism

April 2021

COVID-19 Fight Needs Collective Action at National, Subregional, and Regional Levels

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries have been severely affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, affecting lives and livelihoods of millions of people, according to Mr. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General, SAARC. He said that facing the challenges brought about by the pandemic requires collective action at national, subregional, and regional levels.

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Tags: SAARC, Regional Cooperation

April 2021

Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy 2021 to Guide Bhutan's Hydropower Development

The Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Government of Bhutan launched the Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy (SHDP) 2021 on 21 April 2021. The SHDP 2021 is expected to guide the overall development of Bhutan's abundant hydropower resources in consonance with national economic development goals, other relevant policies and laws, and more importantly to benefit the nation and achieve the larger aspirations of its people for peace, prosperity, and happiness.

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Tags: Energy, Bhutan, Hydropower

April 2021

Indian Energy Exchange Starts Cross-border Electricity Trade Platform

The Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) has launched the Cross Border Electricity Trade (CBET) on its platform. The IEX aims to provide the most competitive benchmark for power prices and valuable signals for the value chain. It will work closely with designated nodal agencies for cross border electricity trade to facilitate inter-country power trade through the exchange market.

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Tags: Energy, India, Trade, Hydropower, BBIN

April 2021

Foreign Ministers of India and Maldives Review Bilateral Cooperation

Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Foreign Minister of the Government of Maldives, met with Mr. S Jaishankar, Foreign Minister of the Government of India, on 16 April 2021, as part of his two-day visit to India. The two foreign ministers reviewed the status of ongoing projects in Maldives backed by India. India supports around $2 billion worth of projects in Maldives, including ports, roads, bridges, water and sanitation, and socio-economic development projects.

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Tags: India, Maldives, Transport, Connectivity

April 2021

Trade Facilitation Mobile App Launched in India

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India has launched a Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Trade Facilitation Mobile App. India aims to move toward paperless, automated processing systems, simple procedures, online data exchange between departments, and digital payments and acknowledgements.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Trade, India

April 2021

ADB Loan to Spur Growth along Tamil Nadu Industrial Corridor

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $484-million loan for a project to improve transport connectivity along the Chennai–Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor (CKIC) in Tamil Nadu, India, to strengthen industrial growth and create jobs along the corridor. The CKIC is part of India’s East Coast Economic Corridor, which stretches from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu and connects to Southeast Asia and East Asia.

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Tags: ADB, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, Transport, Economic Corridor Development, East Coast Economic Corridor

April 2021

17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting Finalizes BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity

Foreign Ministers of the Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping finalized the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity at the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held on 1 April 2021. The master plan will be endorsed for adoption in the next BIMSTEC summit to be hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka later this year.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade Facilitation, Transport, ADB

April 2021

Connectivity Continues to Improve among BBIN Countries

Connectivity among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal in the last couple of years has improved bilateral relations in the fields of trade, business, culture, and education and research. Speakers noted the importance of increasing cultural relations and other forms of regional cooperation among SAARC countries, as well as of further developing road and rail connectivity.

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Tags: BBIN, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, Trade

March 2021

Bangladesh and India Reiterate Strengthening Trade, Energy Cooperation, and Connectivity for Bilateral, Subregional Benefit

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a state visit to Bangladesh on 26-27 March 2021 to join celebrations for the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangladesh and India are also commemorating 50 years since the establishment of their diplomatic relations.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, BBIN, Connectivity, Trade Facilitation, Transport

March 2021

GE Renewable Energy to Upgrade Nepal's Gas Insulated Substations

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) awarded GE Renewable Energy's Grid Solutions business the contract to upgrade three gas insulated substations (GIS) from 220 kilovolt (KV) to 400 KV. These are critical components of the Nepal SASEC Power Transmission and Distribution Project.

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Tags: Nepal, Energy, SASEC, ADB

March 2021

UN TIR Could Be Model for Trade and Connectivity

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal would benefit from the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) Convention, which could increase regional transport connectivity and reduce the cost of trade among implementing countries.

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March 2021

Bhutan and Bangladesh Discuss How to Overcome Pandemic's Impact

An official meeting between Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 24 March 2021 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, emphasized boosting trade, connectivity, and cooperation in energy between the two South Asian nations.

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Tags: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Trade, Connectivity, BBIN, Energy

March 2021

Bangladesh, Nepal Sign MoUs Boosting Sanitary and Phytosanitary Cooperation and Railway Connectivity

The Governments of Bangladesh and Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Strengthening Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Cooperation on 22 March 2021. SPS, as well as technical barriers to trade (TBT), serves as critical nontariff measures that constrain trade in the SASEC subregion.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BBIN, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary

March 2021

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka Reiterate Aim to Boost Trade and Connectivity

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held bilateral talks on 20 March 2021 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The two leaders comprehensively reviewed various aspects of Bangladesh-Sri Lanka relations, including boosting high level exchanges, deepening trade, and increasing connectivity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Connectivity

March 2021

Maldives President Ibrahim Solih on Key Visit to Bangladesh

Bilateral cooperation between the Governments of Bangladesh and the Maldives received a boost with the signing of four MoUs, including a joint commission for comprehensive cooperation and bilateral foreign office consultations.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Maldives, Trade, Shipping, Connectivity

March 2021

Inland Waterways to Reduce Shipping Costs

A shipment of lychee drinks will be traveling through inland waterways from Narsingdi, Bangladesh, to Kolkata, India. According to Mr. Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury, Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh, developing inland waterways will lower the cost of shipping and increase trade between India and Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Waterways, Transport, Trade

March 2021

Bhutan-India Hydropower Joint Venture Signs Loan Agreement

The Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Ltd. (KHEL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India’s power sector financers under the Ministry of Power for the 600-megawatt (MW) hydropower project in eastern Bhutan. KHEL is the first hydropower joint venture between Bhutan and India.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Energy, Hydropower

March 2021

India, SpiceJet Multimodal Transport Project Carries Cargo from Dhaka to Spain

A multimodal transport project initiative of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India, the Airports Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited, and SpiceXpress, the air cargo division of SpiceJet, transported 48 tonnes of cargo from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Spain.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Transit

March 2021

Integrated Grid to Reduce Cost of Electricity Transmission in South Asia

South Asia needs an integrated energy grid to reduce transmission cost and promote regional economic development, said Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary of the Government of India. The subregion should bring together buyers and sellers and harmonize regulatory frameworks to harness the potential of the power trade, he added.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Hydropower, Energy, Regional Cooperation

March 2021

New Bangladesh-India Friendship Bridge to Herald a New Chapter for Connectivity

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated the ‘Maitri Setu’ (Friendship Bridge) between India and Bangladesh and other infrastructural projects in Tripura, India, on 9 March 2021.

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Tags: Bangladesh

February 2021

India’s Ministry of Power Clears Way for Cross-border Electricity Trade

The Ministry of Power of the Government of India endorsed the “Procedure for approval and facilitating Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity”. The Procedure enables the implementation of laws related to electricity trade between India and its neighbors, such as Bhutan and Nepal.

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February 2021

Better Multimodal Connectivity and Port Infrastructure to Improve Bangladesh-India Cross-border Trade

Mr. Vikram K. Doraiswami, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, held a bilateral talk with DCCI President Rizwan Rahman on trade issues between Bangladesh and India. Their discussion emphasized the importance of improving multimodal connectivity and port infrastructure to boost trade between the two countries.

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February 2021

Enhancing Siliguri Corridor to Boost Subregional Trade and Transit

The importance of the Siliguri corridor for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal cross-border trade and transit is underscored by Mr. Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director of CUTS International, and Mr. Prashant Sharma, Assistant Director of CUTS International. Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal depend on this trade and transit corridor for their direct trade and third country trade through ports in Bangladesh and India.

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February 2021

Bangladesh ECNEC Approves SASEC Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Project

The Bangladesh Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved on 16 February 2021 the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Development project. The project will improve road connectivity and increase trade with neighboring countries. ECNEC gave the approval during a virtual meeting presided over by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Tags: ADB, SASEC, Transport, Bangladesh, Road, Trade

February 2021

Substation to Be Major Hub for Power Exchange between Nepal and India

The Dhakelbar substation came online on 1 February 2021. The 400-kilovolt substation enables the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority to exchange 1,000 to 1,200 megawatts of electricity with India via the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line. Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said the infrastructure will serve as the main gateway to import and export electricity to India.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Energy

February 2021

Commentary: ECTS: Revolutionizing Nepal’s Trade

On 7 June 2017, the Governments of Nepal and India signed a Memorandum of Intent bilaterally agreeing to launch a pilot project to facilitate transit traffic by using Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Mr. Rubal Jain from the Indian private sector discusses the benefits of ECTS since its implementation. This piece originally appeared on the Annapurna Express.

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February 2021

Sri Lanka Launches Improved Trade Information Portal

The Sri Lanka Department of Commerce launched in Colombo an enhanced trade information portal, which provides information on the country’s trade procedures. The portal benefits traders by providing transparent and up-to-date information on trade procedures and requirements.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation

February 2021

Bangladesh Exports Fertilizer to Nepal via India

A fertilizer export from Bangladesh to Nepal was facilitated by India through Indian Railways and Bangladesh Railways using the Rohanpur (Bangladesh)-Singhabad (India) rail route in the first week of February. More fertilizer is expected be exported soon using the same facility.

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February 2021

Four Ports of Call Proposed for Bangladesh-India Trade

The Governments of Bangladesh and India plan to add four more ports of call to further bolster bilateral trade through coastal routes. The proposed ports are Matarbari Port (Cox's Bazar) and Muktarpur Port (Munshiganj) in Bangladesh, and Dhamra Port (Odisha) and Kamarajar Port (Chennai) in India.

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February 2021

Bangladesh, Maldives Set Mechanisms to Enhance Trade

Bangladesh and Maldives are considering two regular consultation mechanisms to boost trade and investment: (i) a joint commission for comprehensive cooperation to be led by the respective foreign ministers and (ii) annual foreign office consultations to be led by the respective foreign secretaries.

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January 2021

India Agrees to Add 100 MW to Nepal's Electricity Import

The Government of India has agreed to sell an additional 100 megawatt of electricity to Nepal. Nepal already imports 250 MW of electricity from India through this transmission line. The new provision increases Nepal’s allowable electricity import from India to up to 800 MW of electricity.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Electricity

January 2021

Bangladesh and India Hold Foreign Office Consultations

The Governments of Bangladesh and India held their Foreign Office Consultations on 29 January 2021 in New Delhi, India. The meeting held a comprehensive review of progress achieved in their bilateral relationship in areas such as cooperation on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), trade, connectivity, development partnership, power, energy, and regional cooperation.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Connectivity, Energy, Trade, COVID-19

January 2021

Bangladesh, India Review Power Cooperation in the Subregion

The 19th Joint Steering Committee meeting on Bangladesh-India cooperation in the power sector held on 23 January 2021 at Dhaka, Bangladesh reviewed the status of power trade between the two countries. They also discussed energy trade involving Nepal and Bhutan.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Energy, India

January 2021

Sixth Meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission Highlights Progress in Cross-border Connectivity

The Sixth Meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission highlighted the need to facilitate cross border movement of people and goods. They remarked on how the newly inaugurated integrated check post at Birgunj and Biratnagar have promoted seamless movement of people and trade between the two countries. They also welcomed the completion of the first passenger railway line between India and Nepal from Jaynagar to Kurtha.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Road

January 2021

Commentary: Pandemic Partners: Regional Cooperation Has Helped Asia and the Pacific Mitigate and Recover from COVID-19

Regional cooperation in the international movement of goods, people, knowledge, capital, and resources has helped countries in Asia and the Pacific achieve growth and reduce poverty. Continued regional cooperation in these fields could also play a huge role in addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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January 2021

Bangladesh for Discussions with India to Remove Non-tariff Barriers

Mr. Tipu Munshi, Minister of Commerce of the Government of Bangladesh, called for more discussions between Bangladesh and India on the removal of non-tariff barriers to further grow their bilateral trade. There is ample opportunity to boost trade by removing non-tariff barriers. Improving customs facilities in bordering areas could also further increase bilateral trade between the two countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Non-tariff barriers

January 2021

India, Sri Lanka Discuss Opportunities for Further Cooperation

India and Sri Lanka are looking forward to cooperating post-COVID-19, underscored Mr. Jaishankar during his visit to Sri Lanka. He noted that many opportunities are in discussion, such as special zones for pharmaceutical manufacturing and tourism. There were also proposals in infrastructure, energy, and connectivity. He also stressed that the Indian business community is strongly interested in investing in Sri Lanka.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Tourism, Energy