News List

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

Year:
September 2021

Completion of Akhaura-Laksam Railway Section to Save Travel Time

A 23-kilometer double railway track from Cumilla to Laksam has been completed and is projected to save travel time on the track. Bangladesh Railway is set to open the line on 25 September 2021. The Dhaka-Chattogram railway corridor is a component of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation corridor in Bangladesh.

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September 2021

Bangladesh-Bhutan Preferential Trade Agreement Seen to Boost Exports

Merchandise shipments from Bangladesh to Bhutan have grown significantly, reported the Daily Star. Bangladesh's export to Bhutan is expected to rise following the preferential trade agreement (PTA) they signed in December 2020.

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September 2021

Nepal Expresses Willingness to Use Bangladesh Ports

Nepal is willing to use the ports of Bangladesh for international trade and lessen its dependence on Kolkata port in India, according to Mr. Banshidhar Mishra, Nepal's Ambassador in Bangladesh, in a courtesy call with Mr. Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Senior Vice President.

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September 2021

New ICP Petrapole Passenger Terminal Building to Boost India-Bangladesh Connectivity

The Ministries of Home Affairs and Cooperation of the Government of India inaugurated the Passenger Terminal Building I at ICP Petrapole on 17 September. ICP Petrapole is the largest land port in South Asia and the most important port of entry for passengers from Bangladesh. It handles about 2.3 million (23 lakh) passengers annually.

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September 2021

First Private Sector Cargo Train from India Arrives in Nepal

A private sector cargo train from India arrived in Birgunj, Nepal, on 15 September 2021—the first following the approval and implementation of the revision of the railway service agreement between the two countries. The Hind Terminal cargo train carried 90 containers with food products from Haldia.

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September 2021

KOICA Supporting Bangladesh Road Connectivity Projects

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Bangladesh Road Transport and Highways Division (RTHD), and Roads and Highways Department (RHD) held a knowledge sharing webinar on "Strengthening Road Maintenance & Management System of Bangladesh" via Zoom on 14 September 2021.

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September 2021

Third Bangladesh-Nepal Power Sector JSC Meeting Promotes Further Cooperation

The third meeting of the Bangladesh-Nepal Joint Steering Committee (JSC) in the power sector emphasized how greater cooperation in energy will benefit both Bangladesh and Nepal. The meeting discussed how to further strengthen their work together in the power sector, and took up matters, such as mutual electricity trade and investment in Nepal's hydropower plants.

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September 2021

SASEC Railway Project in Bangladesh 62% Completed

The government of Bangladesh aims to complete the railway line from Dohazari, Chattogram, to Cox's Bazar by June 2023, after work on the project slowed due to the coronavirus disease pandemic. The SASEC railway project is building a new 102-kilomter dual-gauge single railway line. It will facilitate trade, investment, and travel for tourists and will strengthen the economy of beach communities along the railway.

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Tags: Bangladesh, SASEC, Rail, Transport

September 2021

Transport Connectivity Key to Intraregional Trade in BBIN and Bay of Bengal Subregions

Increasing transport connectivity is key to regional integration and intraregional trade, according to Mr. Dongxiang Li, Lead Regional Cooperation Specialist, South Asia Department, Asian Development Bank. He said the development of a regional framework is needed to harmonize policy, procedures, and practice among countries in the Bay of Bengal subregion.

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August 2021

ADB Approves $1.78 Billion for SASEC Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor to Improve Transport and Regional Trade in Bangladesh

ADB has approved a $1.78 billion loan to improve regional trade along the Dhaka–Sylhet trade corridor in Bangladesh. The project, under the SASEC program, will support trade by helping connect Chattogram Port with India's northeastern states.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Road, SASEC, Economic Corridor Development, Trade

August 2021

Maldives and India Undertake the Greater Male Connectivity Project

The Governments of India and Maldives held a signing ceremony for the Greater Male Connectivity Project. India will provide around $400 million line of credit and a grant of $100 million. The GMCP construction will build a 6.74 km bridge and causeway link connecting Male with the adjoining islands of Villingli, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi.

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August 2021

Bangladesh Constructing 7 New Land Ports

Bangladesh is constructing seven new land ports to improve land connectivity with India's northeast region. The ports will be set up in cooperation with the states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura in India to increase trade and improve regional connectivity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade, Regional Cooperation

August 2021

Bangladesh Signs Deal to Develop Roads in Northern Region under SASEC

The Bangladesh Roads and Highways Department has signed an agreement for two packages under the SASEC road connectivity project. The project aims to develop connectivity between Dhaka and the country's northern region.

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Tags: Bangladesh, SASEC, Road

August 2021

E-Commerce Portal Makes “Made in Bhutan” Products Accessible Globally

The Royal Monetary Authority of the Government of Bhutan launched an e-commerce portal that promotes “Made in Bhutan” products and makes it accessible to the international market.

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Tags: Bhutan, Trade

August 2021

Nepal Enacts Sixth Customs Reform and Modernization Plan

The Ministry of Finance of the Government of Nepal launched the Sixth Customs Reform and Modernization Plan. It emphasizes (i) trade facilitation, (ii) realistic revenue collection, (iii) protection and security of society, (iv) automated customs system, and (v) organizational development and capacity building.

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Tags: Nepal, Customs, Trade Facilitation

August 2021

Ninth Meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism

The Governments of India and Nepal held the Ninth Meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism on 16 August 2021. The meeting reviewed the progress of projects being implemented under bilateral cooperation.

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August 2021

Bangladesh's National Board of Revenue Issues Rules to Expedite Release of Perishable Goods

Bangladesh's National Board of Revenue (NBR) has issued the 'Speedy disposal and Release of Perishable Goods Rules-2021,' taking effect beginning 11 August 2021. It covers around 64 types of goods. The rules aim to allow the expeditious release of the perishable goods to maintain quality and quantity, and provide stability to the supply chain.

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August 2021

Bangladesh Committee Approves Creation of Road Research and Training Center under SASEC Road Project

The Bangladesh Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase approved the establishment of a Road Research and Training Center as part of the SASEC Road Connection Project, which will upgrade the Elenga-Hatikumrul-Rangpur Highway to four lanes. The project was approved by the committee during the virtual meeting chaired by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Road, SASEC

August 2021

Restored Haldibari-Chilahati Rail Route Boosts India-Bangladesh Freight Transport

Indian Railways and Bangladesh Railway commenced the regular operation of freight trains on the restored Haldibari (India) - Chilahati (Bangladesh) Rail Route. Indian Railways dispatched a freight train loaded with stones from the Damdim Station of Northeast Frontier Railway (India) to Bangladesh.

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Tags: Rail, India, Bangladesh, Transport

July 2021

Commentary: India's Integrated Check Posts Are Boosting Regional Connectivity But Challenges Remain

Ms. Riya Sinha, researcher for Research Associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Progress, New Delhi, looks at the increasing trade and passenger movement between India and neighbors Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and examines Delhi's push for border infrastructure development. This is an excerpt from a piece that appears on The Print.

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Tags: India, Trade Facilitation, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Regional Integration, South Asia

July 2021

Benapole, Burimari Ports See Change with SASEC Project Completion

Implementation of the SASEC Road Connectivity Project: Improvement of Benapole and Burimari Land Port project in Bangladesh has played a key role in improving port activities. Export and import activities at the ports were much more hectic before the completion of the project. The ports have also created new jobs, including those for cost and freight workers and skilled laborers.

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July 2021

Sri Lanka: National Port Master Plan Technical Assistance Rated Successful

The Asian Development Bank’s Independent Evaluation rated the Sri Lanka: National Port Master Plan technical assistance “successful” in their overall assessment. This policy and advisory technical assistance identified priority projects that would contribute to scaling up future ADB interventions.

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July 2021

Bhutan's Customs Amendment Act 2021 Takes Effect

Bhutan's Customs Amendment Act 2021 has been put into effect. The Ministry of Finance issued a notification that it will refund the customs duty levied in excess of the new rates from the day the bill was presented in Parliament on 31 May 2021 in compliance with the Public Finance Act.

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July 2021

India Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Maldives Customs Service Ink Data Sharing Deal

India’s Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs signed a data sharing agreement with the Maldives Customs Service enabling automatic exchange of customs data. This allows the exchange of information on consignments before their arrival.

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July 2021

Commentary: Coping with the Pandemic

Trade facilitation was already underway in the SASEC countries when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted transport and core services that support trade. Effective and modern trade facilitation measures will be important to the speedy economic recovery of SASEC countries. This blog post appears on The Himalayan.

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July 2021

India to Export Rice to Bangladesh through Essar Shipping

India will export 150,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh as agreed in the recent bilateral trade agreement signed by Bangladesh and India. Essar Shipping has been contracted to ship the rice.

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July 2021

Joint Efforts Opening New Avenues of Cooperation in Central, South Asian Countries

Combined efforts by countries to establish good connectivity have opened new avenues of cooperation in Central Asia and South Asia, according to Mr. AK Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh. Mr. Momen was speaking at the plenary session of the conference "Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity—Challenges and Opportunities” held in Uzbekistan.

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July 2021

Interim Arrangement Clears Hurdles on Import of Vegetables from Bhutan to India

The Government of India has implemented an interim arrangement to allow the import of seven types of vegetables—chilli, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, peas, and soybean— from Bhutan, which are facing the hurdle of a required customs clearance.

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July 2021

Contractor Set to Build SASEC Elenga–Rangpur Highway in Bangladesh

The Roads and Highways Department of Bangladesh has awarded to contractor Abdul Momen, also known as ALM Construction, the project to widen the highway linking the town of Elenga and the city of Rangpur in northeast Dhaka in Bangladesh.

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July 2021

India, Nepal Revise Railway Service Agreement

The Note Verbales and Letter of Exchange for the revision of the Railway Service Agreement between India and Nepal was signed and took effect on 9 July 2021. This move is set to boost rail transport between the two neighboring countries.

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July 2021

SASEC Transmission Line and Substation Inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister Oli

A 132-kilovolt (kV) Samundratar-Trishuli transmission line and a 132/33-kV Samundratar substation under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program were inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. The 25.74-kilometer transmission line will be able to transmit up to 270 megawatts of electricity.

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Tags: Nepal, Energy, SASEC

July 2021

Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project Starts Power Generation

Nepal’s largest hydropower project, the 456-megawatt Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, began operating one of its six 76-megawatt units on 5 July 2021. The project is set to turn Nepal into a power surplus country during the wet season once it starts generating power from all its six units to the national grid. As a power surplus country, it will be capable of exporting electricity.

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June 2021

Proposed Revisions for the India-Nepal Railway Service Agreement to Allow Other Operators, Utilize Other Border Points

A Letter of Exchange for the revision of the Railway Service Agreement between Nepal and India proposes to allow all authorized private container train operators from India and Nepal to utilize the Indian Railway network to transport freight containers for Nepal's imports or exports, and transport goods to and/or from other border points besides Raxaul (India)/Birgunj (Nepal).

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Rail, Trade Facilitation, Transit Facilitation

June 2021

Vaccination for Truckers Engaged in Cross-border Transit of Goods Prioritized

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has directed states that share borders with Bangladesh to make vaccination for truckers a priority.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Pandemic

June 2021

Bhutan's Bicameral Parliament Passes Customs Bill 2021

Bhutan’s Houses of Parliament, the National Council (Upper House) and the National Assembly (Lower House), have passed the Customs Bill 2021.

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Tags: Bhutan, Customs, Trade Facilitation

June 2021

Bangladesh to Import Hydropower from Nepal to Meet Electricity Demand

Bangladesh will import around 700 megawatts of hydropower from Nepal to meet its future electricity demand. The country is set to sign an agreement with Nepal for the hydropower import.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Energy, Hydropower

June 2021

Bangladesh Eyes Resort and Leisure Wear Exports to Maldives

Bangladesh is looking to produce resort wear and leisure apparel for Maldives. Mr. Faruque Hassan, President of BGMEA discussed the potential of tapping this Maldives market with Mr. Shiruzimath Sameer, Bangladesh High Commissioner to Maldives.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Maldives, Trade Facilitation

June 2021

Bangladesh Highway Awaits e-Operation

The Bangladesh Roads and Highways Department is set to incorporate an electronic road operation system to the SASEC Road Connectivity Project II, which is currently under construction. The Tangail-Rangpur Highway project will be the first to be operated electronically using the IT-based intelligence surveillance system to facilitate traffic flow and road safety.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Road, SASEC

June 2021

Benapole Railway Station being Improved to Serve Rising Rail Imports

Import of goods from India to Bangladesh by trains have seen a significant rise during the coronavirus pandemic. To serve the growing demand for imports by rail and smoothen the transit of goods, work on a double railway line from the Petrapole port in India to the Benapole railway station in Bangladesh has commenced.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Trade Facilitation

June 2021

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Begin Negotiations to Sign a Preferential Trade Agreement

The Government of Bangladesh plans to begin negotiations with Sri Lanka to sign a preferential trade agreement by July. Both countries aim to increase their bilateral trade volume.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Trade Facilitation

June 2021

ADB, Government of India Sign $484 Million Loan to Upgrade Road Network in Tamil Nadu Industrial Corridor

The Asian Development Bank and the Government of India signed the Tamil Nadu Industrial Connectivity Project on 16 June 2021. Under the agreement, ADB will finance a $484 million loan to improve transport connectivity and facilitate industrial development in the Chennai–Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor.

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Tags: ADB, Economic corridor, India, Transport

June 2021

Waterways to Increase India-Bangladesh Trade

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is pushing for the development of waterway connections to increase trade between India's northeastern states and Bangladesh. According to Mr. Biswajit Chakraborty, FICCI director for the northeast chapter, developing waterway connectivity would benefit the lives and livelihoods of people living across the Meghna basin.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade, Inland waterways

June 2021

BIMSTEC Countries Must Work Together Toward Shared Progress -Sri Lanka President

Member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) should "continue to deepen cooperation to address the region's challenges and to seize the many opportunities for shared progress," said Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 6 June 2021 during the 24th anniversary of BIMSTEC.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, COVID-19, Regional Cooperation, Sri Lanka

June 2021

BIMSTEC’s Close Cooperation Lauded at 24th Anniversary Commemoration

Heads of the member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) commemorated the 24th BIMSTEC Day on 6 June 2021 with messages that pledged to cooperate with each other in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and to overcome its consequences. They also conveyed wishes for peace and prosperity of the region in separate messages.

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Tags: BIMSTEC

May 2021

Bangladesh Formulates Customs Rules for Transit and Transshipment of Goods

Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR) has formulated customs rules to facilitate the movement of Indian goods via Bangladesh to India’s northeastern region and other countries specified in the Bangladesh-India transit and transshipment agreement.

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Tags: Bangladesh

May 2021

Commentary: The Post-pandemic Era Can Be a New Era for Asia's Roads, Too

Roads in Asia and the Pacific have been essential for the transport of supplies and services, frontline workers, food, and now vaccines. It is time to revive these vital arteries to prepare for economic recovery. This commentary appears on the Asia Development Blog.

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Tags: COVID-19, Road, South Asia

May 2021

Commentary: Waterways Are Set to Be the New Highways of the Future

Inland waterway transport is cost-effective and will ease congestion on road and rail networks. In this article, Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani, National President, National Real Estate Development Council, discusses the potential benefits of developing inland waterway transport in India.

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Tags: Waterways, Connectivity, Transport

May 2021

Bangladesh Drafts Rules on the Faster Release and Disposal of Perishable Goods

The National Board of Revenue of the Government of Bangladesh has finalized the draft rules on the faster release and disposal of perishable goods aimed at keeping the quality and standards of perishable goods. The rules specify provisions to release goods within 48 hours of the submission of bill of entry of imported goods.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Customs, National Board of Revenue

May 2021

Trade Facilitation Needed for Sri Lanka's Food Security

Sri Lanka needs regional and cross-border food trade facilitation to ensure food security, according to the latest report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka needs to improve warehousing and storage facilities, including cold storage. The country also needs to boost packaging and transportation services in the medium to long-term.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, Agriculture

May 2021

ADB Drafts Action Plan to Improve Service Delivery of Bangladesh Customs

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in consultation with Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR), has prepared an action plan in line with the Customs Modernization Plan 2019-2022 of Bangladesh,. ADB supports the improvement of Bangladesh's trade facilitation environment.

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Tags: ADB, Customs, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, National Board of Revenue

May 2021

Bangladesh Opens First Tender for SASEC Dhaka-Sylhet Highway Expansion

Work on the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Dhaka-Sylhet Corridor Road Development Project is set to begin, with the Roads and Highways Department opening the first tender for road widening work on the highway. The invitation for bids was sent out on 29 April 2021 for the 35-kilometer section of the highway from Dhaka to Narsingdi.

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

May 2021

Small Hydropower Plant in Nepal Rehabilitated with India's Assistance

The small hydropower plant at Chandannath Municipality in Nepal's Jumla District was rehabilitated with financial assistance from the Government of India. The plant was virtually inaugurated by the Embassy of India in Kathmandu, Nepal, the District Coordination Committee of Jumla, and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) on 5 May.

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Tags: Hydropower, Nepal, India, Energy

May 2021

16th Informal Meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers Held

The 16th Informal Meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers was held virtually on 5 May 2021. Finance Ministers/Heads of Delegations from all the member states of SAARC attended the meeting, which had the theme "Economic Recovery from COVID-19: Towards Inclusive and Resilient Growth."

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Tags: SAARC, ADB, COVID-19

April 2021

Bangladesh Minister Pushing for Start of Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Road Work

Mr. Obaidul Quader, Road Transport and Bridges Minister, Bangladesh, is pushing to begin work to upgrade the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar Highway. The road, one of the busiest in Bangladesh, will be widened to four-lanes to ease traffic along the route and improve subregional connectivity.

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Tags: Road, Economic Corridor Development, Transport, Bangladesh

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

Commentary: Building Seamless Transport Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal Region

Enhancing transport and trade linkages between and across the countries in the Bay of Bengal region requires a strategic master plan. The master plan will guide the countries' actions and build on synergies among various connectivity frameworks. This commentary appears on the Development Asia website.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Regional Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Transport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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