News List

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

Year:
July 2018

Bilateral Meeting Focuses on Implementation of India-Nepal Cross-border Rail Links

The Governments of India and Nepal convened the 6th Meeting of the Project Steering Committee for the Implementation of India-Nepal Cross Border Rail Link Projects. The Meeting highlighted the early finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding for the preliminary engineering/traffic survey of the Raxaul (India)-Kathmandu (Nepal) rail line.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Rail

June 2018

ADB Submits Jogighopa Multi-Modal Logistics Park Study Report

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) submitted the Jogighopa Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) pre-feasibility study report to the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Government of India, on 19 June 2018. The Government of India (GoI) requested for ADB's support to conduct MMLP pre-feasibility studies at select locations, including Jogighopa in Assam, India.

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Tags: ADB, India, Transport

June 2018

Commentary: Opening up Nepal-India Skies

Establishing an additional air route via Nepal will help reduce congestion and enhance air traffic safety in the region. In this commentary, Mr. Tri Ratna Manandhar, former Director General of Civil Aviation Authority, Nepal, discusses how India and Nepal could work together to implement the Himalaya Route.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

May 2018

Bangladesh Approves Installation of Substation for Importing 500 MW from Tripura, India

Bangladesh’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved a project to install a high-voltage direct-current back-to-back substation at Comilla in Bangladesh for importing 500 megawatts of electricity from Tripura, India.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Energy, India, SASEC, Trade, Rail, Transport

May 2018

Ministerial Meeting of LLDCs Emphasize Need to Address Trade and Transport Issues

The 9th Annual Ministerial Meeting of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) on Trade and Transport was held to discussed key issues in transport, transit cooperation, trade, and trade facilitation among LLDCs. Bhutan and Nepal sent delegations to the Meeting. They highlighted initiatives being taken to connect their countries to the global market, including bilateral agreements in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion and the SASEC Trade Facilitation Program.

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Tags: Trade, Trade Facilitation, Sustainable Development Goals, Cooperation, Connectivity, Bilateral Agreement, Bilateral Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, SASEC, India, Transport, Ports, Customs, Roads, Single Window

May 2018

Case Study: Removing Roadblocks to Trade

This case study reviews how the Subregional Transport Facilitation Project removed roadblocks to Nepal's trade. The project, approved in 4 November 2004 and completed in 21 September 2010, made flow of import and export goods to Nepal easier, faster, and smoother. Learn how the project lowered the cost of capital for cargo in Nepal by 12% annually, making the country better connected to the subregional economy.

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Tags: Transport, SASEC, ADB, Nepal, Customs

May 2018

Government of India to Develop India-Bhutan Railway Connectivity

The Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India is reviewing feasibility studies for potential railway linkages between India and Bhutan. The studies conducted by the Northeast Frontier Railway include five possible routes.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Transport, Rail, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal

May 2018

India Moving Ahead with TIR Implementation

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry is fast-tracking implementation of the United Nations TIR Convention, following the Indian government’s initiatives to promote trade expansion, particularly along the international North-South Transport Corridor.

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Tags: India, Trade, Transport

May 2018

Bangladesh Executive Committee of the National Economic Council Approves SASEC Road Project

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council of the Government of Bangladesh approved revisions to the project to upgrade the Joydevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Road into a four-lane highway. Revisions include extension of deadline and increase in funding. The Asian Development Bank will provide financing support through the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) road connectivity project.

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

May 2018

Double Rail Track Project in Bangladesh to Increase Connectivity with India, Bhutan, and Nepal

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council of the Government of Bangladesh approved the double laning of the railway track from Khulna to Darshana. Darshana, a rail transit point, lies on the Bangladesh-India border. Spanning around 217 kilometers, the double rail line will establish rail connectivity with India, with links toward Bhutan and Nepal. It will also provide access to Mongla Port.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Nepal, Rail, Transport

April 2018

India, Nepal Review Trade and Transit Treaties

The Governments of India and Nepal held an India-Nepal Inter-Governmental Committee Meeting on Trade, Transit, and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade, led by Commerce Secretaries of the two Governments. They discussed bilateral trade, transit, and economic relations, and agreed to conclude measures to further improve bilateral trade and investment ties.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Transit, Inland waterways, Standards Harmonization

April 2018

Bangladesh-India-Nepal Conduct Trial Run for Bus Service

Bangladesh, India, and Nepal conducted a trial bus service run on 24-25 April 2018. Two buses left Dhaka, Bangladesh, for Kathmandu, Nepal, carrying delegates from the three countries and the ADB. The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement enables the bus service.

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Tags: Bangladesh, BBIN, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport

April 2018

Commentary: Let's Set Sail

This commentary by Ms. Dikshya Singh, Research Officer at South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, puts forward that the decision to connect India and Nepal via inland waterways is a "landmark decision" that is worth pursuing. While modalities have yet to be set by the two Governments, the option to connect Nepal to India's waterways promises to further boost Nepal's trade facilitation and make India's inland waterways infrastructure project more financially viable.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Transport, Connectivity

April 2018

India Highway Authority Signs Agreement for International Highway Project

The National Highways Authority of India signed on 11 April 2018 an agreement to widen the Yagyi-Kalewa section of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. Construction is also underway for the Imphal-Kangchup-Tamenglong road under the SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program. These projects will improve the flow of vehicular traffic and enhance trade, health services, and tourism in India, Myanmar, and Thailand.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, SASEC, Transport, Road

April 2018

Bangladesh Cabinet Approves Proposals to Import More Energy from India, Build Railway

The Government of Bangladesh's Cabinet Committee on Purchase approved a proposal to import 500 megawatts of electricity from India from June 2018 to May 2033 to help meet the country's energy demand. The Committee also cleared a proposal appointing Texmaco Rail and Engineering from India to build the dual gauge rail line from Akhaura to Agartala.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Energy, Rail, Transport, Transmission

April 2018

India and Nepal to be Linked by Railway

India and Nepal are set to be linked by rail with the agreement by the Governments of both countries to connect Raxaul, a border city in India, to Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city, by rail. Preparatory survey work will be conducted by the Government of India, in consultation with the Government of Nepal, for a new electrified rail line within one year.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Rail, Connectivity, Act East Policy, Transport

March 2018

BBIN Initiative for Boosting Bus Service in the Subregion; Sets Dhaka-Kathmandu Trial Run

Selected commercial and personal vehicles, including a passenger bus service, will join a trial run from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Kathmandu, Nepal on 23-26 April 2018. The route will pass through the Banglabandha (Bangladesh)-Phulbari (India) border and through Panitanki (India)-Kakarbhitta (Nepal) border. Senior officials of the governments of Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have agreed to operate more cargo and passenger buses along key routes in the region to enhance connectivity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Transport

March 2018

Locomotives Boost India-Myanmar Cooperation

Providing a boon to relations between India and Myanmar, Indian Railways delivered 18 AC/DC 1350 horsepower diesel electric locomotives to Myanmar Railways six months ahead of schedule. Funded with an Indian line of credit, the fuel-efficient locomotives are fitted with micro-processor control-based systems, equipped with the latest technology, and runs at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour.

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Tags: Myanmar, India, Transport

March 2018

Nepal to Propose Finalization of Transshipment Modality with India in Upcoming IGC Meeting

The Government of Nepal is aiming to finalize the transshipment modality with the Government of India for its third country trade. It will be part of the agenda in the upcoming Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) meeting in April in Pokhara, Nepal, headed by India and Nepal commerce secretaries.

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Tags: Nepal, India, ADB, Transport, Electronic Cargo Tracking System

March 2018

Bangladesh, Thailand Discuss Bilateral Cooperation in Shipping, Trade, and Energy

Bangladesh's 'Look East Policy' and Thailand's 'Look West Policy' could be synchronized to create new trade and economic connectivity corridors, according to Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-chaon during a meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali. They discussed a range of bilateral cooperation, including shipping, trade, energy, and those under BIMSTEC.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Thailand, Shipping, Energy, Trade, Transport

February 2018

Bangladesh’s National Economic Council Gives Green Light to Establish Rail Connectivity with India, Bhutan, and Nepal

The Government of Bangladesh plans to convert around 67 kilometers of meter-gauge rail line into dual gauge to establish railway connectivity with Bhutan, India, and Nepal. This move could help boost trade among the three countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Rail, Transport

February 2018

Video: Towards a Borderless World

This video showcases how innovations for trade facilitation have enabled businesses in the BBIN subregion to tap into regional value chains and flourish globally. More developments in facilitating trade and enhancing connectivity are planned and underway to help boost trade, enhance regional integration, and promote economic opportunities.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

February 2018

Commentary: The Missing Link

Deep integration is needed to generate economic growth in South Asia. By integrating trade in goods and services and transport facilities, South Asian countries will be able to better participate in global trade.

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Tags: Cooperation, South Asia, Trade, Transport, Economy

December 2017

Speech: BIMSTEC at 20—Priorities for the Future

In her keynote address at the dialogue on BiMSTEC at 20—Priorities for the Future, Ms. Grace Asirwatham, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka, reflects on the prospects for connectivity and prosperity among BIMSTEC member countries and explores the organization's priorities, including trade, transport, energy, and climate change.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport, Energy

December 2017

India Fast-tracks International Highways in South Asia

India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) will prioritize plans to construct 2,000 kilometers of roads linking India's major highway corridors to international trade points in South Asia. MoRTH Minister Nitin Gadkari highlights that this plan, worth Rs 25,000 crore, will facilitate export/import trade with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal. The Ministry also took steps to operationalize the BBIN MVA.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Transport

December 2017

River Dredging Planned for Development of Year-round Bangladesh-India Waterway Navigation

India's Ministry of Shipping reported planned dredging works in the Zakiganj-Ashuganj section of the Kushiyara river and in the Sirajganj-Daikhowa section of the Jamuna river to help develop year-round navigation. Dredging will be executed by the two countries, subsequent to the decision taken in the meeting of the Shipping Secretaries in December 2016.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport

December 2017

India Proposes $1 Billion LoC to Boost Connectivity with ASEAN

India has proposed a $1 billion line of credit (LOC) to strengthen sea, air, and road connectivity with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India. India and Myanmar are working together to upgrade infrastructure in the border areas, including the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway, and the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project.

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Tags: India, ASEAN, IMT-MVA, Myanmar, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Transport

December 2017

Second India-Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Motor Rally Held

The second India-Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Motor Rally successfully completed a journey from India to Thailand on 3 December 2017. The rally was flagged off from Guwahati, India, and proceeded toward Myanmar, passing through Kalay, Bagan, Mandalay, Yangon, and Mawlamyine. The rally then crossed the border to Mae Sot, Thailand, and reached Bangkok via Sukhothai.

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Tags: IMT-MVA, Transport

November 2017

ADB Holds Regional Cooperation Week; SASEC Team Recognized

ADB held a Regional Cooperation and Integration (RCI) Week to asses strategic RCI themes and initiatives in Asia and the Pacific and to define ADB implementation of its RCI Operational Plan. ADB also presented RCI Best Performers Awards, recognizing the SASEC Program for the SASEC Vision: Powering Asia in the 21st Century, and for leading the SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program Multitranche Financing Facility Project.

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Tags: ADB, Connectivity, Regional Cooperation, Road, SASEC, Transport

November 2017

Speech: Accelerating RCI in Asia and the Pacific for Economic Growth, Shared Prosperity, and Sustainability

In his keynote address at the ADB Regional Cooperation and Integration Week, ADB President Takehiko Nakao stated that regional cooperation is critical to securing Asia’s economic future. He noted ADB’s continued commitment to support regional cooperation as a means to reduce inequality and overcome infrastructure gaps, and cited specific SASEC projects as effective examples. The ADB Regional Cooperation and Integration Week was held on 27-29 November 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

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Tags: ADB, ASEAN, Economic Corridor Development, Energy, Myanmar, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, Transport, World Bank, WTO

November 2017

Asia-Pacific Ministers Vow to Advance Regional Cooperation to Support SDG Agenda

At the Second Ministerial Conference on Regional Cooperation and Integration (RECI) organized by UNESCAP and ADB, government ministers and participants committed to support the implementation of the agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ministers said RECI should be consistent with the SDGs in contributing to social progress and environmental sustainability.

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Tags: ADB, Asia-Pacific, Energy, Regional Cooperation, Sustainable Development Goals, Trade Facilitation, Transport, UNESCAP

November 2017

BIMSTEC Meeting Emphasizes Transport Connectivity Master Plan

The Second Meeting of the BIMSTEC Transport Connectivity Working Group discussed the BIMSTEC Master Plan on Transport Connectivity. The Master Plan is envisaged to provide an overarching framework for BIMSTEC in enhancing transport connectivity among its member countries.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Transport, Connectivity

October 2017

Inland Waterways to Spur BBIN Development

Completion of infrastructure to connect inland waterways of India and Bangladesh could ease movement between the two countries, and make transport of freight to Nepal and Bhutan faster and less expensive. Opening inland waterways would make alternative modes of transport viable and could open up livelihood opportunities, helping facilitate trade in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, according to experts attending a forum on subregional inland waterways.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Poverty Reduction, Sustainable Development Goals, Transport

October 2017

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Northern Bypass in Phuentsholing, Bhutan

A groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of the Northern Bypass construction in Phuentsholing, Bhutan, which includes the 2.7-kilometer bypass road and 120-meter bridge over Omchhu. The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank under the SASEC Program to improve Bhutan's regional connectivity, and open up access to better economic opportunities and social services.

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Tags: Bhutan, Connectivity, Road, Bridge, Transport

October 2017

India, Bangladesh, Nepal in Talks to Implement BBIN MVA

The Government of India has taken steps to implement the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), coordinating with the Governments of Bangladesh and Nepal through the Ministry of External Affairs to enforce the transport agreement between and among themselves, reported Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping Minister, India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Transport

September 2017

Chamber of Commerce Formed to Increase Trade between India and Myanmar

India has formed the India-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce (IMCC) in Yangon to increase trade between the two countries, which currently stands at around $2 billion. IMCC will focus on helping Indian business invest in Myanmar and vice versa.

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Tags: Agriculture, Exports, Imports, India, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Small and Medium Enterprises, Thailand, Trade, Transport

August 2017

BIMSTEC Seeks Stronger Ties and Cooperation

The 18th session of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Senior Officials' Meeting and the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting stressed the importance of cooperation in energy, technology, trade, and transport, through a revitalized, more integrated, and stronger BIMSTEC process. The Joint Statement underscored the need to finalize the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Agreement.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Nepal, Bangladesh, Regional Cooperation, Energy, Technology, Trade, Transport, Free Trade Agreement

August 2017

India Minister of State for Commerce and Industry: India and ASEAN Must Step-up Efforts to Increase Trade

Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, India, urged India and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to bolster efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment, and improve road and sea transport links. She urged a review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement to facilitate elimination of technical barriers to trade, and promoted transformation of the India-Southeast Asia transport corridors into economic corridors.

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Tags: India, ASEAN, Bilateral Agreement, Investments, Roads, Transport

July 2017

New Agreement on Trade, Commerce, and Transit between India and Bhutan Comes into Force

The new Agreement on Trade, Commerce, and Transit between India and Bhutan has come into force beginning 29 July 2017. It provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan, and allows duty free transit of Bhutanese goods for trade with third countries.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Trade, Free Trade Agreement, Transit Facilitation, Transport

July 2017

SASEC Road Connectivity to Open Opportunities for MSMEs

India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for a $253,406,409 project to be implemented by the state-run National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation. The project, part of the SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program, will upgrade and widen 65 kilometers of the Imphal-Moreh section of National Highway 39 in northeastern India.

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Tags: India, Road, SASEC, Small and Medium Enterprises, Transport

June 2017

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

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Tags: Connectivity, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

June 2017

BBIN Intraregional Trade On the Rise

The International Trade Centre's Trade Map reports an increase in intraregional trade in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion in 2016, from $21.65 billion in 2015 to $23.52 billion. The ratio of BBIN intraregional trade to world trade went up from 2.98% in 2015 to 3.34% in 2016.

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Tags: BBIN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport, Energy, Trade

June 2017

India Proposes Regional Air Connectivity Scheme among BIMSTEC Countries

The Government of India has proposed application of its "Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik" (UDAN) or "Common People of the Country can Fly" policy among member countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). An enabling regional connectivity policy could help attract high value economic agents, business travelers, and tourists.

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Tags: India, BIMSTEC, Transport, Connectivity, Bhutan, Myanmar, Regional Cooperation

June 2017

Electronic Cargo Tracking System to Improve India-Nepal Cargo Traffic and Security

An electronic tracking system will soon ease traffic-in-transit for cargo traveling by road and rail from Kolkata to four major Customs points of Nepal, including the Raxaul route. Mr. Sandeep Kumar, Customs Commissioner, India, and Mr. Rabi Shanker Sainju, Commerce Ministry Joint Secretary, Nepal, signed a memorandum of intent to pilot the tracking system for a trial period of at least 90 days in late 2017.

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Tags: Electronic Cargo Tracking System, ADB, SASEC, Nepal, India, BBIN, Customs, Road, Rail, Transport

May 2017

ADB Blog: 6 Ways Asian Economic Cooperation is Changing the Region

Economic transformations have accelerated regional cooperation and integration in Asia. In this ADB blog post, Mr. Cuong Minh Nguyen, Principal Regional Integration Specialist, Southeast Asia Department, ADB, discusses six paradigm shifts that are reshaping economic prospects in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and other parts of the region. It also highlights the need for governments to work together to build a socially inclusive, environmentally friendly, and economically sustainable region.

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Tags: ASEAN, SAARC, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy, Regional Cooperation

May 2017

India to Link Meghalaya-Myanmar, Boost Waterway Transit

The Government of India plans to begin construction of the highway connecting Meghalaya to Myanmar in June 2017, according to the Ministry of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping, India. India also plans to boost waterway transit for more cost-effective transport of goods, and is considering waterway connectivity between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

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Tags: Transport, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia

May 2017

Building Stronger Cooperation with BIMSTEC

The Secretary General of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) advised member countries to look at regional cooperation in a pragmatic way, with efforts to build regional cooperation focusing on achieving practical results, at the conference marking BIMSTEC’s 20th anniversary.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Connectivity, Regional Cooperation

May 2017

Need to Improve Bangladesh-India Port Services Highlighted by IBCCI

A delegation of the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) met with Mr. Shajahan Khan, Shipping Minister, Bangladesh, to discuss trade bottlenecks in Bangladesh-India land ports. Infrastructural and administrative bottlenecks in land and sea ports of Bangladesh and India slows down the trade process. Long delays for trucks to pass through Customs, for example, results in shortages of warehouses and trucks, and skyrocketing prices in truck rentals.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Transport

May 2017

Watch: Powering Asia in the 21st Century

The SASEC Vision lays out opportunities through industry linkages and regional trade:

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Tags: SASEC 2025, Regional Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy, Economic Corridor Development

May 2017

SAARC Finance Ministers Meet in Yokohama, Japan

Finance ministers and senior officials of member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka met on 5 May at Yokohama, Japan, at the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 50th Annual General Meeting.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Central Asia, Climate Change, Energy, India, Maldives, Nepal, Policy, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, SASEC, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport

May 2017

New India Investment Agreements Take Holistic Approach to Spur Infrastructure Growth

India has signed investment agreements worth $31 million at the Integrated Transport and Logistics Summit in New Delhi, India. The agreements form part of the Government of India’s holistic approach to spur infrastructure growth, according to Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Shipping Minister, India.

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Tags: India, Transport, Shipping

April 2017

India, Sri Lanka Sign MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India on 25-29 April 2017, for discussion with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe welcomed the signing of the MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Infrastructure, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Transport

April 2017

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Vision: Powering Asia in the 21st Century

SASEC Powering Asia in the 21st Century defines the SASEC Vision, setting the SASEC partnership on a path to help transform the subregion into Asia's powerhouse in the 21st century. The Vision steps up cooperation among SASEC member countries, guiding them how to transform transport corridors into industrial and economic corridors, and promoting sustainable economic growth by generating synergies among SASEC member countries.

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Tags: SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy

April 2017

Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Economic Corridor Development, Energy, ICT, India, Nepal, Maldives, Myanmar, SASEC, South Asia, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Regional Cooperation

March 2017

Bangladesh, Bhutan Commerce Secretaries Discuss Trade Promotion

The Commerce Secretaries of the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Bangladesh met on 23-24 March 2017 in Thimphu, Bhutan, to discuss the promotion of trade and commerce. The Secretaries agreed to negotiate an inland water transit protocol, and initiate a memorandum of understanding for mutual recognition of standards and classifications.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Standards Harmonization, Trade, Transport

March 2017

BIMSTEC Roundtable Stresses Need to Resolve Border-Related Trade Barriers

The Eighth BIMSTEC Roundtable Meeting tackled “Rewriting the Rulebook of Regional Connectivity,” emphasizing the need to resolve border-related trade barriers through coordination of government policies across Asia, including Customs procedures and clearance of goods, to unlock the vibrancy of the Asian Highway and reduce the cost of doing business.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade, Customs, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, ICT, Nepal, Transport, Ease of Doing Business

March 2017

International River Port to be Developed in Tripura

India's Ministry of Shipping will set up an international river port in Sonamura, connecting Gomati River in Tripura, in India's northeast, with Meghna river in Bangladesh. India’s Inland Waterways Authority approved the proposal to enable small ferries and boats to transport goods through river transit, according to Minister of State for Industries and Commerce.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport

February 2017

India-Myanmar Trade Increases to $22 Million

Bilateral trade between India and Myanmar increased from nearly $11.9 million in 2013-2014 to around $22.2 million in 2015-2016, according to India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry. India's Act East Policy was instrumental in promoting trade growth between the two countries, deepening economic cooperation and expanding trade through India's Northeast region.

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Tags: Act East Policy, India, Myanmar, Trade, Transport

February 2017

India Files Proposal for Trade Deal on Services

India filed a draft Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on Services at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 23 February 2017. The proposal aims to increase transparency, reduce costs and facilitate cross-border flows of services. India is looking to push the proposal at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.

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Tags: Customs, India, Services, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Transparency, Transport, WTO

February 2017

Commentary: An Emergent Urgency for Bangladesh

Good connectivity reduces the cost of doing business and increases the competitive strengths of trading partners. In this commentary, Dr. Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue, highlights how a sanitary and phytosanitary agreement and an effective Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement would promote South Asian integration and step up Asia-wide cooperation.

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Tags: BBIN, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Transport, Economic corridor

February 2017

Commentary: India Infrastructure: Connecting Bihar

The Ganges flows through the middle of Bihar, India, physically dividing it into north and south. Enhanced connectivity can improve lives and livelihoods, especially if the infrastructure is climate-sensitive. Ms. Saleha Waseem, Operations Communications Specialist at the Asian Development Bank’s South Asia Regional Department, shows how improving transport links would make a huge difference to millions of people.

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Tags: ADB, Agriculture, Bangladesh, Connectivity, Development, Economic corridor, Regional Cooperation, India, Nepal, Road, Services, Transport

January 2017

Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism Agrees to Expedite Project Implementation

The second meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism, held on 30 January 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal, reviewed progress of India-funded economic and development projects in Nepal, and agreed to expedite implementation of these projects for timely completion. Projects discussed included cross-border railways, integrated check posts, and cross-border transmission lines.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Hydropower, Infrastructure, Transport, Energy

January 2017

Railway Network Linking India and its Neighbors Under Consideration

A railway network linking India and its neighboring countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, is being considered by the Government of India, according to India Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Developing railway connectivity will increase employment, interaction, trade, and tourism.

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Tags: India, Rail, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Tourism, Employment

January 2017

Davos 2017: Accelerating South Asia's Growth and Development through Regional Cooperation

The interactive session “Harnessing Regional Cooperation in South Asia” held at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum discussed how regional economic cooperation is helping accelerate growth and development. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized continuous initiatives, in economic cooperation in South Asia, including SAFTA and SASEC. India Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman lauded initiatives to boost connectivity.

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Tags: South Asia, Regional Cooperation, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

January 2017

India to Sign Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods

India is set to join the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or International Road Transport Convention in its bid to establish seamless trade connectivity with Southeast Asia and Eurasian countries. Through the TIR Convention, India could access Eurasia via the International North-South Transport Corridor. TIR would also give India an advantage in trade with fellow signatories of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Connectivity, Customs, Economic corridor, Harmonization, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Road, Roads, Trade Facilitation, Trade, Transport, BBIN

December 2016

SASEC Mini Dry Port Project to Help Ease Traffic in Phuentsholing, Bhutan

Two of three South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation project components are seeing progress in Bhutan. A planned mini dry port project aims to provide cargo and other commercial vehicles a route that avoids traffic jams in the border town of Phuentsholing. A 2.66-kilometer bypass will also be built to connect Bau Bazaar in Jaigon and the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway.

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Tags: ADB, Bhutan, Transport, Customs, Road, SASEC, South Asia

December 2016

ADB to Fund Bangladesh 129-kilometer Dohazari-Gundum Railway Line

Bangladesh Railway has set out a 20-year plan in a bid to increase the transport body’s market share. The plan includes 235 railway projects at a cost of $30 billion. The country currently has 2,877 kilometers of railroads and has made plans to add another 375 kilometers. ADB will be funding the 129-kilometer Dohazari-Gundum railway line at a cost of $1.5 billion. Such projects are expected to boost economic growth in Bangladesh.

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Tags: Rail, Transport, Bangladesh, ADB

December 2016

Ferry Services between Colombo and Tuticorin Being Planned

The Colombo Shipping Corporation is planning to re-establish ferry linkages under public-private partnership. A SAARC Meeting of Experts from India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, recommended resumption of ferry services between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. 

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Tags: ADB, India, Maldives, Public-Private Partnership, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Transport

December 2016

India-Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Motor Car Rally Highlights IMT Connectivity

An India-Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Motor Car Rally, beginning in New Delhi, India and culminating in Bangkok, Thailand, has highlighted potential benefits of intra-regional connectivity and integration, and sensitized stakeholders on the all-weather road that will make travel from New Delhi to Bangkok by road possible.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, IMT-MVA, Transport, Road

December 2016

SASEC Portfolio Tops $9 billion

The SASEC project portfolio has surpassed the $9 billion mark with the December 2016 approval of Nepal’s SASEC Roads Improvement Project, worth $256.5 million. There are now 44 SASEC investment projects worth a cumulative $9.13 billion. During 2016, seven projects have been approved for a total of $2.37 billion.

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Tags: SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Energy, Transport, Roads, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, ICT, Rail, Economic corridor, Connectivity

December 2016

SASEC Roads Improvement Project to Boost Nepal's Transport Connectivity and Export Competitiveness

The Asian Development Bank has approved a loan for $187 million to Nepal for the SASEC Roads Improvement Project, which will upgrade transport connectivity and bring transformational gains by making social services more accessible, opening up previously untapped economic opportunities, and supporting trade between Nepal and India.

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Tags: SASEC, Transport, Nepal, Connectivity, ADB, Services, Trade

November 2016

Bangladesh-Nepal Road Route Survey to be Held in December

Government officials of Bangladesh and Nepal will conduct a joint survey on a potential road route under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA), starting from5 December 2016. It will check road conditions, length of travel, and necessary infrastructure to ensure seamless movement of vehicles.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport

November 2016

Bhutan's National Council Declines Endorsement of the BBIN MVA

The National Council of Bhutan voted against ratification of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) at a session held on 15 November 2016. Council members delivered thirteen “no” votes, two “yes”, and five abstentions.

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Tags: Bhutan, BBIN, Transport

November 2016

Conference Highlights Deepening Economic Integration, Boosting Connectivity in South Asia

Nepal Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat urged conclusion of the SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment to deepen economic integration among South Asian countries, and emphasized the need to improve connectivity in the region at the inauguration of the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the South Asian Network of Economic Research.

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Tags: SAARC, Transport, Rail, Road, Investment, Investments, Nepal

November 2016

SASEC Operational Plan Launched in Nepal

The SASEC Operational Plan, which aligns and brings together all SASEC sectoral strategies, was launched in Kathmandu, Nepal. With 37 of the 200 planned projects set to be implemented in Nepal, the Government’s policy reform efforts to integrate with global markets is set to receive a significant boost.

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Tags: Nepal, SASEC Operational Plan, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy

October 2016

New India-Bhutan Trade, Commerce, and Transit Agreement Approved by Indian Cabinet

A new Agreement on Trade, Commerce, and Transit between India and Bhutan, enabling a free trade regime between the two countries, and providing for duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries, has been approved by the Cabinet of India, in a meeting chaired by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bilateral Trade

October 2016

India's Foreign Secretary Discusses Potential Partnerships with Sri Lanka's President, Prime Minister

Mr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India, called on Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss potential partnerships between India and Sri Lanka in sectors including energy, infrastructure, and transport, and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to further discuss boosting bilateral trade and investment.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Energy, Infrastructure, Transport

October 2016

India-Nepal Panel Formed to Implement Bilateral Projects

A high-level panel formed by the Governments of India and Nepal will work to address bottlenecks in infrastructure projects in Nepal funded by the Government of India—including hydropower projects, roads and railways—to ensure their timely completion.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Rail, Transport, Energy

October 2016

Land Acquisition for the Agartala-Akhaura Rail Project Begins in Bangladesh

The Governments of India and Bangladesh have begun the process of acquiring land in Bangladesh to build the new India-Bangladesh railway project. The 15 kilometer (km) railway will connect Agartala (India) to Akhaura (Bangladesh), and reduce the 1,613-km mountainous distance between Agartala and Kolkata to 514 km.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport, Rail

October 2016

Nepal Commerce Minister Stresses Implementation of BIMSTEC FTA, BTILS

Mr. Romi Gauchan Thakali, Minister for Commerce, Nepal, emphasized the need to finalize and implement the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Free Trade Area (FTA) Framework Agreement, to help boost growth among least developed and developing nations in South and Southeast Asia. He also highlighted implementation of the BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistics Study.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade, Nepal, Transport

October 2016

Commentary: The Case for Stronger Ties in South Asia

In recent years, countries in South Asia have shown increasing commitment to deepening regional cooperation through bilateral agreements and regional initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement. This commentary by Ms. Nahela Nowshin of the Centre for Policy Dialogue discusses the importance of regional initiatives in South Asia, as well as the need to promote dialogue on matters of regional cooperation and connectivity.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

September 2016

ADB Approves $1.5 Billion Railway Project for Bangladesh

The Asian Development Bank has approved a multitranche loan of $1.5 billion to the Government of Bangladesh for construction of a key section of the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar railway line—the largest ever investment in railways by ADB. The new line will improve Bangladesh’s access to Myanmar and beyond, facilitate trade, and boost tourism in southeastern Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Myanmar, Rail, Connectivity, Transport, Trade, Tourism

September 2016

India Sets IMT Trilateral Highway Completion

The India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway is set to be completed by 2019-2020. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assigned the India Ministry of External Affairs to monitor and oversee its completion.

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Tags: IMT-MVA, Transport, India, ASEAN,

September 2016

Second BBIN Trial Run Demonstrates Benefits of BBIN MVA

A new chapter in trade relations and people-to-people contact between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) began on 5 September 2016, as a Bangladeshi cargo truck rolled into the Customs Inland Container Depot, Patparganj, Delhi. Though the vehicle entered India through Petrapole Land Customs Station, Customs clearance was done at the ICD, Patparganj, as part of a trial run of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

September 2016

India to Provide Rail Link to Bhutan

As part of the Government of India’s Act East Policy, Indian Railways is set to provide a rail link to Bhutan to boost ties with its South Asian neighbors. Feasibility studies have been conducted for extended links between Kokrajhar-Gelephu, Rangiya-Samdrupjonkhar, Banarhat-Samtse, and Pathsala-Nanglam. India’s Northeast Frontier Railway has also undertaken survey work for rail connectivity to Nepal and Bangladesh.

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Tags: India, Bhutan, Rail, Transport

August 2016

Bangladesh to Develop Rail Corridors to Facilitate BBIN Trade

Bangladesh is pushing for the development of railway corridors with India to facilitate trade and investment among BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) countries. To help boost regional trade, Bangladesh Railway is looking to revive five routes to India, and build railway links to connect with Bhutan and Nepal.

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Tags: Transport, Rail, Bangladesh, India, BBIN

August 2016

India Begins Operations on the Varanasi-Haldia River Route

Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Shipping Minister, India, led the inauguration of the Varanasi-Haldia inland waterway route, laying the foundation stone for an inland waterway terminal, and flagging off a trial run of two cargo vessels from Varanasi to Haldia Port near Kolkata, a route that touches Nepal’s two major rivers—Koshi and Gandaki.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport

August 2016

Banglabandha Land Port Improvement to Support Rising Bangladesh-Nepal Trade

The Ministry of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh, has ordered upgrading of the Banglabandha Land Port to cater to rising trade with Nepal. This includes improving and building new loading and unloading sheds, and other needed infrastructure, such as warehouses, vehicle parking, and the road leading to the port.

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Tags: Shipping, Bangladesh, Nepal, Transport, BBIN

August 2016

ASEAN India Business Council for Trade Expansion, Greater Connectivity with India

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) India Business Council (AIBC) called for opening of trade between India's northeastern states and the ASEAN region, in a meeting with India Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. AIBC also sought to finalize the ASEAN-India Transit Transport Agreement before completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.

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Tags: India, Trade, Transport, ASEAN

August 2016

Bhomra, Sheola, Thegamukh Ports under BBIN to Benefit Region

Development of infrastructure at Sheola, Thegamukh, and Bhomra land ports under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative for regional connectivity will increase economic activity, according to a feasibility study report jointly undertaken by India and the People’s Republic of China. The report was presented at a National Public Consultation Workshop in Bangladesh on 11 August 2016.

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Tags: Ports, Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

August 2016

Connectivity with Bangladesh Integral to India’s Act East Policy

India is upbeat on India-Bangladesh bilateral relations, particularly on connectivity and bilateral trade. Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, High Commissioner of lndia to Bangladesh, emphasized at a Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry meeting, that Bangladesh is integral to India’s Act East Policy and noted the many efforts to link the two countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Rail, Bilateral Trade, Transport

August 2016

Editorial: Basin-wide River Management for South Asia’s Prosperity

River management provides opportunities to release regenerative capacities of the people and environment of basin-wide areas. The following article suggests South Asian countries cooperate to fulfill a promise of greater sustainability. Cooperation in water resource management can serve as a catalyst for broader regional cooperation, economic integration, and development.

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Tags: BBIN, Rivers, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Transport

August 2016

India to Develop a Special Economic Zone in Myanmar

The Government of India is planning to develop an economic hub in the port city of Sittwe, Myanmar, that will help boost India's connectivity to Southeast Asia.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Special Economic Zone, Transport, Trade Facilitation

July 2016

India, Bangladesh Railway Ministers Lay Foundation Stone for the Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link

Indian Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Bangladeshi Railway Minister Mazibul Hoque jointly laid the foundation stone for the 15 kilometer (km) Agartala (India)-Akhaura (Bangladesh) railway project. This rail link reduces the Agartala-Kolkata distance from 1,613 km to 514 km.

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Tags: Rail, India, Bangladesh, Transport

July 2016

SASEC Investment Projects Top $7.7 Billion

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) investment projects increased to a cumulative $7.66 billion in the areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and ICT with the recent approval of India’s Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project. To date, 40 SASEC-supported projects are helping member countries strengthen regional connectivity infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. In addition, there are now 71 technical assistance projects worth $66.14 mi

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Tags: SASEC, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, South Asia, ADB, ICT, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Economic Corridor Development

July 2016

Bangladesh Road Transport and Bridges Minister: BBIN MVA May Start in December

Implementation of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) may start in December, according to Bangladesh Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, while speaking at a closing ceremony of a drivers' training on road safety.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

July 2016

India's National Green Tribunal Approves Delhi-Kathmandu Bus Service

India's National Green Tribunal has approved registration of a Delhi-Kathmandu bus service by the Delhi Transport Corporation, offering transit between select destinations in India and Nepal. The bus service was launched to further enhance economic ties between the two countries

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

July 2016

BIMSTEC Negotiating FTA, Other Proposals to Enhance Trade

The BIMSTEC free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation by the inter-regional organization could benefit the region's trade by helping operationalize production links among member countries and eliminating non-tariff measures within a mutually agreed timeframe. BIMSTEC members are also considering a single visa proposal and extension of the BBIN transport agreement to Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Free Trade Agreement, Transport, Sri Lanka

July 2016

Commentary: 800 Million Reasons

Mr. Hun Kim, Director General, South Asia Department, ADB, describes how partnership of 6 South Asian countries through the ADB-supported South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program is helping propel economic growth in South Asia, amidst an uncertain regional and global economic climate, by working to increase trade volumes to reduce the number of impoverished people in the region.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

July 2016

Blog: Is South Asia ready for a Regional Motor Vehicles Agreement?

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) meant to allow smooth passage of goods and passenger vehicles in each other’s territories. In this blog post, Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, South Asia Regional Integration, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank, asks if South Asia is truly ready for such a regional agreement.

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Tags: South Asia, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

July 2016

Bus Service along IMT Route under Negotiation

Talks to implement a regular bus service between India and Thailand through Myanmar are underway as part of a Motor Vehicle Agreement being finalized by India, Myanmar, and Thailand (IMT). The service would run on the 1,400 kilometer IMT Trilateral Highway linking South and Southeast Asia.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, Trade Facilitation, Transport

July 2016

Business Leaders Call for Industrial Zone in Panchagarh, Bangladesh

Business leaders at the recent Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Business Forum and Expo said they want to see an industrial zone in Panchagarh, Bangladesh, as this would be close to Biratnagar in Nepal, Phuntsholing in Bhutan, and Siliguri in India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade, Transport

July 2016

Bangladesh and India In Talks to Open Up Coastal Shipping Routes to Passenger Vessels

Plans are underway to open up coastal shipping routes between Bangladesh and India to passenger and cruise vessels. According to Bangladesh Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, the two countries are in talks to sign a memorandum of understanding allowing Indian vessels through Bangladesh's waterways, to ease travel to India's northeast.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport, Shipping

July 2016

BBIN Business Forum: Time to Change Mindset on Economic Cooperation

The BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) is making it easier for passengers and freight vehicles in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal to travel around the region. BBIN finalized the MVA in an effort to facilitate cross-border trade and travel in South Asia. A BBIN Business Forum sees energy and water cooperation playing a vital role in taking integration even further in the region.

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

July 2016

Harmonize Customs Duties for BBIN Success

BBIN Business Forum states that Customs duties and taxation must be harmonized in order to improve trade among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal. Following the successful signing of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA), the countries must now pursue ways to make the movement of goods and people easier.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Cooperation

June 2016

Interactive SASEC Corridor Map on Website

The interactive SASEC Corridor Map on the SASEC Program website and SASEC Mobile App is your gateway to SASEC projects. View projects by sector—energy, transport, trade facilitation, and ICT—or by corridor using the interactive map, to learn how the SASEC program is helping promote regional prosperity in South Asia. The map also includes project information and links to SASEC project pages.

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Tags: SASEC, Economic corridor, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives

June 2016

ADB-Bangladesh PPP Road Project to Boost Dhaka's Intercity Connectivity

The Rampura-Amulia-Demra public-private partnership (PPP) road project in Bangadesh will be developed into a four-lane 13.5-kilometer access road under a transaction advisory services agreement between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladesh Public–Private Partnership Authority. The project complements ADB’s existing support to the Bangladesh Roads and Highways Department for intercity road connectivity under the SASEC Program.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, ADB

June 2016

ADB Earmarks $4.1 Billion for Bangladesh, Including $300 Million for SASEC Road Connectivity

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has earmarked $4.10 billion for Bangladesh for the 2016-2019 period, subject to project readiness. This includes $50 million for the proposed SASEC Road Connectivity Project-II and $200 million for the Chittagong-Cox's Bazar railway project. The ADB is also allotting $300 million for power generation and $194 million for rural infrastructure maintenance.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Road, Transport

June 2016

Planned Longest River Bridge in India to Link to Nepal, Could Benefit 9 Million People

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $500-million loan to build a bridge across the Ganges River that will link India and Nepal. The 9.8-kilometer bridge will be India’s longest river bridge and will help people move between jobs and markets. It is projected to benefit 9 million people, especially those in poorer communities.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

June 2016

India to Begin Work on Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project

India is set to begin work on the Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project, which is expected to become the longest river bridge in India at 9.8 kilometers (km). The road bridge spanning the Ganges River will improve transport connectivity between north and south Bihar, India, and enhance the existing road corridors between India and Nepal. ADB is providing $500 million for the project and $900,000 in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Road, Bridge

June 2016

Visakhapatnam Port Inaugurated as Nepal's Second Gateway Port

Cargo bound for Nepal was flagged off symbolically from Visakhapatnam Port in India on 24 June 2016, signaling to traders that the port is ready to facilitate exports and imports as Nepal's second gateway port. A delegation from Nepal is in Visakhapatnam to see through implementation of the agreement and discuss modalities of cargo transit with Customs officials from India.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Ports, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

Bhutan's National Assembly Ratifies the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement

Bhutan's National Assembly ratified the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA) on 21 June 2016 with 28 votes. Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay reiterated that the BBIN MVA would regulate cross-border movement of vehicles in the subregion through formulation of protocols. Implementation of the BBIN MVA will help strengthen Bhutan's existing ties with India, and boost cooperation and integration within the subregion.

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Tags: Bhutan, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

Bangladesh-India Transshipment Facility Reduces Distance to India's Northeast

Launch of the Bangladesh-India transshipment facility concluded with the successful delivery of steel rods from Kolkata, India to Agartala, the capital of Tripura, through Akhaura land port in Bangladesh, onboard Bangladeshi trucks. The facility will allow India to deliver goods to the northeast region in an estimated 10-day time, and help boost trade in the region by enabling Bangladesh to transport goods to Nepal and Bhutan via India, and give India access to Myanmar via Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

Bangladesh Set to Upgrade 1,752 Kilometers of Roads

Bangladesh has adopted a multi-dimensional plan to upgrade 1,752 kilometers of highways to four lanes. The Government of Bangladesh is already implementing the 69-kilometer Joydebpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga four-lane project under the SASEC Road Connectivity Project.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Road, Transport

June 2016

ADB Blog: High Hopes for BBIN Vehicle Agreement, One Year On

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement is a landmark framework agreement signed by the transport ministers of the BBIN countries last June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan. Mr. Ronald Butiong, Director, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination, South Asia Regional Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB), describes how it is paving the way for a more integrated and more prosperous South Asian region in an ADB blog entry.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

June 2016

Bangladesh Seeks to Upgrade Jessore-Benapole Highway

The Government of Bangladesh has completed its feasibility study and detailed design for a planned 38-km Jessore-Benapole highway upgrade. It is set to inject more than $42 million to fund the Indo-Bangladesh transport corridor improvement to facilitate trade and connectivity. The Jessore-Benapole highway is central to several regional connectivity initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement and SAARC highway corridors.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Road, Transport

June 2016

Dedicated Railway Line from Indian Ports to Nepal Sought to Reduce Cost of Trade

Nepal's private sector stakeholders are seeking a dedicated railway line from Nepal to Indian sea ports, including the Visakhapatnam Port, to reduce the cost of trade in the country. Mr. Rajan Sharma, Transport and Transit Committee Chair of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, noted that direct access to India's Visakhapatnam Port could bring transformational changes to Nepal's economy.

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Tags: Nepal, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

June 2016

SAARC CCI and SAARC Development Fund to Co-finance Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry have pledged to collaborate and co-finance projects under the SDF's social, economic and infrastructure windows to promote regional connectivity across the SAARC region.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, SAARC, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport

June 2016

India to Roll Out Agartala-Akhaura Broad Gauge Railway Service

The 15-kilometer broad gauge rail service from Agartala, India to Akhaura, Bangladesh is set to be inaugurated in June 2016. Funded by the Government of India, the railway project will reduce the 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata to 550 km and is foreseen to boost bilateral trade and business between the two neighboring countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Rail, Bilateral Trade, Transport

June 2016

Bhutan Air Connectivity Project to Upgrade Domestic Airports

Bhutan is upgrading three domestic airports—Bumthang, Gelephu, and Yonphula—to enhance their capacity, safety, and efficiency. The Asian Development Bank is providing additional financing for this SASEC project, to further strengthen safety and security, and improve passenger convenience and service at these airports.

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Tags: Bhutan, Airports, Transport, Tourism

May 2016

Proposed SASEC Road Project to Improve Bangladesh Transport Network

A proposed SASEC road upgrade project in Bangladesh will improve the country’s transport system and enhance trade and investment in the region, according to Mr. Obaidul Quader of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges

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Tags: SASEC, Transport, Bangladesh

May 2016

ADB, SDF Sign Pact to Co-finance Development Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Development Fund (SAARC SDF) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a memorandum of understanding to undertake development projects in the South Asian region.

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Tags: ADB, Transport, SAARC, ICT, Trade, Bhutan, India, Nepal

May 2016

King of Bhutan Emphasizes Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Cooperation

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali paid a courtesy call on the King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. The King lauded Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's initiatives to boost Bangladesh-Bhutan bilateral relations, and emphasized the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) cooperation as a platform to achieve regional prosperity.

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Tags: Bhutan, Bangladesh, BBIN, India, Nepal, Transport, Regional Cooperation

May 2016

India, ADB to Enhance Connectivity in SASEC Region through Planned Infrastructure Projects

India is planning to develop regional connectivity projects worth around $5 billion under the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-supported SASEC Program, according to Mr. Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, India. These initiatives include two priority road corridors that will boost connectivity with its neighbors in South and Southeast Asia and complementary integrated check posts and land Customs stations. India and ADB will also work together to develop the East Coast Econom

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Tags: India, Economic corridor, Energy, Transport, Trade Facilitation

April 2016

WCO Workshop Considers Improvement of Regional Transit Regimes in BBIN Subregion

A World Customs Organization (WCO) Subregional Workshop on Transit Corridors in South Asia considered improvement of regional transit regimes in the region. Progress of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement, as well as national experiences of Japan, Switzerland and Malawi in implementing efficient transit regimes, was discussed.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Transport, BBIN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

Economic Cooperation Dialogue Highlights Need for Transport Corridors

The Economic Cooperation Dialogue on Regional Connectivity and Border Special Development Zones in Eastern South Asia highlighted the importance of transport corridors to promote trade and economic cooperation in the region. Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Head, UNESCAP Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, shared how developing transport corridors can turn constraints faced by the region's landlocked countries into opportunities.

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Tags: Trade, Transport, South Asia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Railway Agreement Proposed to Boost Multimodal Connectivity

A railway agreement in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) subregion is being proposed, in line with expansion of railway links boosting connectivity between India's Northeast and its BBIN neighbors. According to Mr. Mukul Kumar, Director (Transport), Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, Government of India, this initiative will facilitate cross-border transport of goods and people, and enable efficient multimodal transport system to integrate and sustain the region's economic growth.

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Tags: BBIN, Rail, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

April 2016

SASEC Program Upgrades Mobile App

Version 2.0 of the SASEC Program Mobile App is now available for download. With improved user interface and layout, updated offline data, faster caching, and smaller app size, the updated SASEC Program Mobile App is lighter, quicker, and more user friendly.

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Tags: Knowledge Product, SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Energy, Transport

April 2016

Bangladesh's ECNEC Approves Budget to Upgrade Trans-Asia Railway Link

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) of Bangladesh approved an updated budget of around $2.3 billion for the 129.6 kilometer Dohazari-Ramu-Cox's Bazar dual gauge railway project. The proposed railway track will be linked to the Trans-Asian Railway, connecting Bangladesh to India and Myanmar.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Rail, Transport

April 2016

5-year Sagar Mala Project to Help Reduce Logistics Cost

India's Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari announced the Government's updated target to complete the Sagar Mala program in 5 years at the Maritime India Summit. The project will help reduce logistics costs, boost merchandise exports by $110 million, and create 10 million new jobs.

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Tags: India, Ports, Transport, Trade, Trade Facilitation

April 2016

Private Sector Representative: BBIN Corridor Trial Run Highlighted Scope for Development

Dr. Pritam Banerjee, Senior Director, Corporate Public Policy (South Asia), Deutsche Post DHL, reported that the first trial run of cargo vehicles on the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala route under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional framework, enabled a better understanding of future needs and solutions for safe and efficient movement of cargo across BBIN borders.

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Tags: Private Sector, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, India, Bangladesh

April 2016

Commentary: Political Economy of Regional Integration: Where Do We Stand in South Asia?

Dr. Selim Reihan notes that drivers of political economy can impact the region's integration agenda. In this essay, Dr. Raihan highlights the importance of exploring the political economy of regional integration to generate a better assessment of the factors driving and constraining regional integration, and create broader awareness among stakeholders to stimulate a more realistic and effective regional policy design and processes.

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Tags: Economic corridor, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, SAARC, SAFTA, Services, South Asia, Infrastructure, Trade Facilitation, Transport

March 2016

Bilateral Ties, BBIN MVA Reviewed in Meeting between Bangladesh President and Bhutan Ambassador

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, in a meeting with outgoing Bhutan Ambassador to Bangladesh Pema Choden, highlighted how implementation of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) will expand the scope of trade and investment in the subregion. They also discussed how bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan could be enhanced.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, BBIN, Transport, Motor Vehicles Agreement

March 2016

India Pursues SAARC-wide Initiatives to Promote Goal of Greater Connectivity and Integration

India Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar discussed initiatives being pursued by India in line with its 'neighborhood first' policy, in his address at the 42nd Standing Committee Meeting of SAARC. He also emphasized the need to implement the South Asia Economic Union, and sign the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Railways Agreement.

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Tags: India, South Asian Economic Union, SAARC, Transport, Energy

March 2016

Manipur Chief Minister Flags Off Imphal-Kangchup-Tamenglong Road Project

Construction of a new road from Imphal City to Tamenglong via Kangchup was officially inaugurated by Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The 103-kilometer road improvement is part of a larger program to improve a key strategic thoroughfare on the Asian Highway, integrating South and Southeast Asia, bordering Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal. It is funded by an Asian Development Bank loan, approved in March 2014.

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Tags: India, Asian Highway, Transport, Economic Corridor Development

March 2016

Potential SASEC Project to Modernize Bangladesh's Regional Trade Links

Major upgrades to modernize the Tangail-Rangpur Highway—which is part of the 1,741 kilometers (km) linking Bangladesh with the Asian Highway, and the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal road network—are being proposed by Bangladesh Road and Highways Department, to include road widening and construction of bridges, flyovers, and culverts. The plan is currently being reviewed by Bangladesh Planning Ministry.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Economic corridor

February 2016

Tongi-Bhairab Double Rail Track Inaugurated

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally opened Bangladesh Railway’s 64-kilometer Tongi-Bhairab double-rail track on the Dhaka-Chittagong route, which is expected to speed up rail travel between Dhaka and Chittagong by at least an hour and a half. The Asian Development Bank funded the $162.5 million project through the SASEC program.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Rail, Transport

February 2016

Regional Economic Connectivity Initiatives to Change Bangladesh Business Landscape

Regional economic connectivity initiatives, including the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement, can change the business landscape of Bangladesh, said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque at a meeting of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  The BBIN MVA will transform 30 transport corridors into economic corridors, and is set to give subregional businesses a boost.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Transport

February 2016

Bangladesh and Thailand Discuss Direct Coastal Shipping through Chittagong-Ranong Ports

A delegation from the Port Authority of Thailand and officials from Bangladesh's Ministry of Shipping held the first official discussion on direct coastal shipping connectivity between Bangladesh and Thailand. The two countries agreed to carry out a feasibility study on the Chittagong Port, with the aim of signing a memorandum of understanding.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Thailand, Transport

January 2016

3rd Meeting of BBIN Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation, Dhaka

The third meeting of the Joint Working Group on Subregional Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on Connectivity and Transit and Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower deliberated new initiatives for deepening cooperation. Discussion centered around progress made under the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement and the proposed BBIN Rail Agreement.

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Tags: BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Energy, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

January 2016

Proposed SAARC Meeting to Discuss Regional Transport Agreements

A proposed meeting of SAARC Transport Ministers in Kathmandu, Nepal aims to discuss the SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement and SAARC Regional Railway Agreement, ahead of the 19th SAARC Summit to be held in the latter part of 2016 in Pakistan. The proposed regional transit agreements aim to promote transport connectivity in the region, and to enhance regional economic cooperation and integration.

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Tags: SAARC, Transport, Trade Facilitation, BBIN, Nepal

January 2016

Bangladesh-India Railway Links Top Priority for the Government of India

Indian Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha led a two-day visit to the northeastern state of Tripura to inaugurate its trial broad gauge passenger train, and review progress of ongoing railway projects, including the Agartala-Akhaura railway project, which connects the rail networks of Bangladesh and India, and Agartala-Sabroom, a future connecting point for Chittagong port in Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Rail, Transport

January 2016

Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor to Boost Andhra Pradesh's Industrial Activity

A potential Asian Development Bank loan of $625 million will boost the planned $840 million Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC). VCIC will form part of India’s proposed East Coast Economic Corridor, with 4 industrial nodes expected to double industrial output and improve productivity in Andhra Pradesh by 30% over the next 2 decades.

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Tags: Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor, Transport, Ports, manufacturing, India, Economic corridor, ADB, Make in India

January 2016

ADB to Continue Supporting RCI Projects in Bangladesh

Strengthening of regional cooperation and integration (RCI) remains a priority of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), according to its Bangladesh Country Operations Business Plan for 2016–2018. In the energy sector, ADB will continue to expand access to and make Bangladesh's power supply more reliable. In the transport sector, ADB will further promote safe, reliable, and fully integrated transport systems that move people and goods more efficiently within the country and across the region.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Asian Highway, Energy, Transport

January 2016

Friendship Bus Service Re-launched between India-Nepal

A friendship bus service between India and Nepal was re-launched on 4 January 2016, after a gap of 27 years. No special documents are necessary to travel in these buses. Locals with family and trade ties in both countries, who regularly travel this route on a daily basis met the news with much enthusiasm.

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Tags: Transport, India, Nepal

January 2016

Chittagong Seaport Records Milestone 2 Million TEU of Containers Handled

Chittagong Seaport attained its 2016 target of handling 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers one year early. This announcement was made by the Chittagong Port Authority on 3 January 2015 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan as chief guest. According to Minister Khan, Chittagong Port's container holding capacity increased to 40,000 TEU, owing to a rise in container handling demand, which grew by 700,000 TEU in the last 3 years.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Trade, Transport, Shipping

December 2015

69 Bridges to be Built on Major Section of the IMT Trilateral Highway

A total of 69 bridges will be built by the Government of India along a major road link of the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway in Myanmar. These bridges will be part of the route for a proposed bus service linking Imphal, capital of the Indian state of Manipur, with Mandalay City in Myanmar. The project is estimated to cost around $56 million, and is due for completion in mid-2019.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, Trade Facilitation, Transport

December 2015

First Funding Tranche Released for New India-Bangladesh Waterway Link

The Government of India has released the first tranche of funding worth around $299,000 to construct a new waterway link between its northeast region and Bangladesh. With total allocation of $1.87 million, the project will link the Gomati and Howrah rivers in Tripura with the Meghna river in Bangladesh, to boost bilateral trade and the movement of people.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Transport

December 2015

SASEC in 2015

Several key SASEC events during 2015 helped the six member countries promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries, and strengthening regional economic cooperation. Here's a review of some of the major events in 2015.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy

December 2015

Commentary: South Asia Could Be Linchpin for Regional Integration

South Asia is set to play a strategic role in Asian integration. This commentary by Mr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Advisor in the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, shares how linking emerging South Asia with the more developed member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations will transform regional economies through development of regional connectivity, and create a huge regional market of 2-3 billion people.

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Tags: South Asia, Economic corridor, Development, ASEAN, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Tourism, manufacturing, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal

December 2015

4,500 Kilometer BBIN MVA Friendship Car Rally Concludes in Kolkata

The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Friendship Motor Rally which began on 14 November 2015 in India's Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, concluded on 2 December 2015 in Kolkata, West Bengal. The 19-day 4,500-kilometer car rally was held to promote the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) and strengthen ties in the BBIN subregion. According to Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber, the BBIN MVA will drive growth in the right direction for all four participating countries.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport

December 2015

Customs Cooperation, Bilateral Transport Agreement Discussed at Bangladesh-Bhutan Meeting

A 2-day meeting between Bangladesh and Bhutan headed by Commerce Secretaries discussed several bilateral concerns, including increasing products on the duty-free import/export list of both countries, potential hydropower imports from Bhutan to Bangladesh, Customs cooperation, and road and water transport agreement.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Customs, Trade Facilitation, Transport, BBIN

November 2015

Seminar on BBIN MVA Calls on Bhutanese Parliament to Endorse the Agreement

A seminar organized by Kalinga Motor Sports, with support from the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India and funding from the Asian Development Bank, discussed the importance of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for regional connectivity and the recent decision of the Parliament of Bhutan to defer its endorsement. The Ambassadors of Bangladesh and India spoke on the occasion, calling on Bhutan's Parliament to endorse and ratify the agreement.

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Tags: Bhutan, BBIN, Transport

November 2015

North East Regional Connectivity Summit 2015 Discusses Roadmap for Connectivity

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry organized the Second North East Regional Connectivity Summit to review progress made since its first Summit held in 2014, and discuss a way forward for the region's development, to maximize its proximity to South and Southeast Asia. The Summit also launched the knowledge paper 'Emerging North-East India: Economically and Socially Inclusive Development Strategies.'

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Tags: India, Transport, Southeast Asia

November 2015

Bhutan and Sri Lanka Hold First Annual Bilateral Consultation

The first annual bilateral consultation between the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Sri Lanka, held on 16 November 2015 in Colombo, discussed cooperation in regional and multilateral forums, and air connectivity. Membership of regional organizations and frameworks, including SAARC and BIMSTEC, was emphasized by the two countries as one way to strengthen links and enhance trade and economic cooperation.

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Tags: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bilateral Trade, Connectivity, Transport

November 2015

Bangladesh Development Forum 2015 Discusses Need to Upgrade Regional Connectivity

Bangladesh's development partner representatives participated in deliberations held at the Bangladesh Development Forum 2015, which shared the country’s needs for infrastructure development. Recommendations to help facilitate growth include good regional connectivity, quality infrastructure development, and increasing participation from the private sector.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Energy

November 2015

Bangladesh and India Sign SOP on Coastal Shipping

Bangladesh and India signed the Standard Operating Procedure to operationalize the 'Agreement on Coastal Shipping' formalized in June 2015. This Agreement will provide huge savings in logistics costs for cargo transport between the two countries, improving bilateral trade. The two parties have also agreed to sign an agreement on passenger and cruise vessels.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

November 2015

BBIN MVA Transit Fees for Goods and Passenger Vehicles to be Finalized

A Meeting for the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement (BBIN MVA)on 3-4 December 2015 will finalize the transit fees for goods and passenger vehicles, and discuss other issues, said Bangladesh Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader. Transport of passengers and goods under the BBIN MVA will formally start in January 2016, with initial restrictions in place.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

November 2015

SAARC CCI's Colombo Declaration Proposes Boosting South Asian Air Links

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) proposed direct flight operations among capitals and commercial cities of South Asia in its 'Colombo Declaration on Tourism' presented by SAARC CCI Secretary General Muhammad Iqbal Tabish to SAARC Secretary General Arjun Thapa. The statement underscored the immediate need to improve air, sea and road links among the SAARC member states to deepen economic cooperation in South Asia.

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Tags: Aviation, SAARC CCI, Transport

November 2015

ADB Support for Bangladesh's Transformational Infrastructure Development

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Wencai Zhang pledged ADB's continuous support for Bangladesh's efforts on regional cooperation and integration in a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He highlighted concrete results of Bangladesh's participation in regional cooperation, and discussed ADB plans to support Bangladesh's transformational infrastructure development.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade, Transport, Energy

November 2015

Bangladesh to Complete Needed Links for an Inter-Connected Region

Several initiatives to improve Bangladesh's connectivity with India's North East region are in the pipeline, to increase people-to-people contact and cross-border business. These include revamping trade infrastructures to connect border points, and expanding Bangladesh's diplomatic and consular presence in India's North East region.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade, Transport, Energy

November 2015

Cargo Transport Trial Run Starts under BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement

The Government of India flagged off the first cargo truck under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) on 1 November 2015 for a trial run from Kolkata, West Bengal to Agartala, Tripura, passing through Dhaka, Bangladesh. The cargo vehicle traveled a distance of only around 640 kilometers, compared to its longertraditional route of 1,550 km.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, India

November 2015

Trial Runs for the IMT Motor Vehicle Agreement Begin in December

Trial runs to test the effectiveness of the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Motor Vehicle Agreement and identify implementation-related issues will begin by December 2015, according to India's Union Road Transport and Highway Secretary Vijay Chibber. Protocols for the IMT MVA are currently being finalized, to be signed by early April 2016.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Thailand, Trade Facilitation, Transport

October 2015

Bangladesh Prime Minister and Sri Lanka High Commissioner Discuss Bilateral Cooperation

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lanka High Commissioner Yasoja Gunasekera discussed a possible scope of cooperation during a courtesy call paid by the High Commissioner to the Prime Minister in October. Prime Minister Hasina encouraged more Sri Lankan investments and joint ventures in Bangladesh's 22 special economic zones. Bangladesh is also considering introducing a sea route to Sri Lanka.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Energy, Transport

October 2015

Historic Opportunity to Link South and Southeast Asia: ADB Brief

Regional integration between South and Southeast Asia remains relatively limited, hindered by various problems, including bottlenecks in transport infrastructure. Enhancements in road, railways, and port infrastructure, as well as new road and rail links between Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Thailand will lower unit transport costs, reduce shipping times, and increase the quantity of goods, all of which will lead to increased trade.

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Tags: Transport, Trade Facilitation, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Rail, Ports

October 2015

High-Level Meeting in India Stresses Need for Better Connectivity in the North East Region

A Meeting between India's Minister for External Affairs and Governors of the North East region covered key aspects of the 'Act East Policy', including transport connectivity, border trade, and regional production and value chains. The Meeting stressed the need for better connectivity of the North East to a wider region, including Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand, and discussed ongoing and planned cross-border connectivity projects.

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Tags: India, Act East Policy, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh

October 2015

Business Conclave Promotes Enhanced Connectivity between Bhutan and West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee encouraged private sector delegates to explore a business corridor concept for tourism, small industries and joint venture projects at an India-Bhutan Business Conclave, held in Bhutan. Making West Bengal a gateway to the North East will open up further business opportunities for Bhutan.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

October 2015

Bhutan Prime Minister and West Bengal Chief Minister Revive Talks on Indo-Bhutan Railway

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay renewed their commitment to pursue the Golden Jubilee Railway line from Hasimara, India to Bhutan during the Chief Minister's call to Prime Minister Tobgay on 5 October 2015. Both sides agreed to review the railway project, and examine ways to resolve land-related issues.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Transport, Rail

September 2015

ADB Scales Up Financing for Preparation of Subregional Transport Projects in Bangladesh

The Asian Development Bank has approved additional financing for a SASEC transport project that supports preparation of high-priority railway and road projects in Bangladesh along the Trans-Asian Railway and the Asian Highway network. These transport projects will enhance cross-border traffic, expanding connectivity in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal subregion and forming links between South Asia and Southeast Asia.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Rail, Ports, BBIN

September 2015

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and India Prime Minister Modi Set to Deepen Engagement

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has extended an invitation for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka in May or June 2016 to sign an agreement on economic and technological cooperation. The two Prime Ministers held discussions on enhancing economic ties between India and Sri Lanka and resuming ferry services during Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi, India on 14-16 September 2015.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, India, Trade, Transport

September 2015

ADB-Supported BBIN MVA Meeting Kicks Off Protocol Negotiations

The technical committees of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) wrapped up a two-day meeting for the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) protocol negotiations on 9 September 2015. The Meeting initiated negotiations, reaching agreement on guidelines on cross-border movement of passenger and cargo vehicles.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Trade Facilitation

September 2015

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Discuss MVA Protocols in Dhaka

The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges, Bangladesh is hosting a two-day Secretary-level meeting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) to discuss the protocols of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA). Secretary of Road Transport and Highways Division, MoRTB, said Bangladesh will allow cross-border cargo transport on roads connected to functional land ports.

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Tags: BBIN, Bangladesh, Transport

August 2015

26 km Section of Asian Highway Linking IMT becomes Operational

The Myawaddy-Thin Gan Nyi Naung-Kawkareik section of the Asian Highway linking India, Myanmar, and Thailand (IMT) has become operational, reducing travel time between Thin Gan Nyi Naung and Kawkareik from 3 hours to 45 minutes. This section was constructed beginning 2012 with the assistance of Thailand, and is part of the Greater Mekong Subregion Program.

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Tags: India, Transport, Myanmar, Thailand

August 2015

Commentary on the BBIN MVA as Positive Development for Subregional Cooperation

Read a commentary on the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) as positive development for the BBIN subregional grouping. The BBIN MVA is a landmark framework agreement that aims to facilitate seamless flow of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic between and among the BBIN countries.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

August 2015

Bangladesh Cabinet Approves Proposal to Upgrade Dhaka-Northwest Corridor

A Cabinet Committee Meeting on Public Purchase of the Government of Bangladesh approved four proposals for ongoing infrastructure projects, including contract awarding upgrade of a 70-kilometer long section of the Dhaka-Northwest corridor from two to four lanes. This road enhancement is being financed under the Bangladesh SASEC Road Connectivity Project.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Energy

August 2015

Koshi Bridge Restores Connectivity in Nepal's Eastern Development Region

The newly-constructed Koshi Bridge, inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on 3 August 2015, improves road connectivity and restores economic activities in the eastern region of Nepal. The bridge provides an alternate route and improves mobility, creating new opportunities for growth. It was constructed with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

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Tags: Nepal, Infrastructure, Transport

August 2015

Dhaka-Sylhet Highway to be Widened into Four-Lane Road

The Bangladesh Government will take steps to widen the Dhaka-Sylhet highway to four lanes to facilitate the flow of traffic, following completion of a feasibility study and detailed design of this national highway. The study was conducted by the Road and Highways Department, Bangladesh, with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Connectivity

August 2015

India-Nepal Joint Working Group Move Forward with Vehicle Permits, New Bus Routes

The India-Nepal Cross Border Transport Facilitation Joint Working Group under the bilateral Motor Vehicle Agreement discussed measures to facilitate movement of passenger vehicles across the India-Nepal border. Key recommendations include a web-based solution to issue, monitor, and verify permits, and four new bus routes between India and Nepal.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport

July 2015

Asian Highway Section to be Operational in 2016

The Asian Highway -- and part of the India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway -- will connect Moreh in India to Mae Sot in Thailand, via Mandalay and Yangon in Myanmar. The road will be linked further to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The IMT Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) will help seamless movement of cargo and passenger across borders, including private vehicles.

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Tags: IMT-MVA, Road, Transport

July 2015

Bhutan SASEC Road Connectivity Project to Begin September

Construction to improve Pasakha Access Road in Phuentsholing, Bhutan will start in September, said officials from Bhutan's Department of Roads, Ministry of Works and Human Settlement. This road section—a key output of the SASEC Road Connectivity Project in Bhutan—will access a bypass road from Bibarey near Manglabarey, providing trucks and other vehicles an alternate route to industrial sites in Pasakha. Once constructed, it is expected to decongest traffic in Bhutan's Phuentsholing and India

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

July 2015

SAARC Cross-border Infrastructure Boost from India's Capital Contribution to the SDF

The Government of India has cleared utilization of India's capital contribution to the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) for its Infrastructure and Economic Windows, to address infrastructure bottlenecks and promote growth in the SAARC region. This approval will help boost projects that will increase intra-SAARC trade and maximize the region's growth potential.

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Tags: SAARC, Trade, Transport

July 2015

India Releases Full Padma Bridge Grant, Asks Bangladesh to Start New Loan Implementation

The full $200 million grant pledged by India to Bangladesh for construction of Padma Bridge under a $1 billion loan agreement has been disbursed. A recent meeting between India and Bangladesh also discussed implementation of a $2 billion loan agreement signed during India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in June 2015.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport

July 2015

Nepal Budget Emphasizes Air, Road Connectivity

The Government of Nepal unveiled a number of infrastructure projects for transport and energy in its budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 to further boost the country's economic growth. Planned road projects include development of six-lane trade roads and an alternate link road to Kathmandu. The Government is also prioritizing development of airports.

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Tags: Nepal, Transport, Airports

July 2015

India Considers Re-establishing Rail Link with Sri Lanka

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is considering a proposal to establish a rail bridge linking Rameswaram, a coastal pilgrim center in Tamil Nadu and Thalaimannar, Sri Lanka. The two countries would be linked if the project materializes.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Transport

June 2015

BBIN Highlights Need for Road and Railway Connectivity

With the recent approval of the regional transit deal among four nations – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal – traffic volume will take a further upturn. The Government of Bangladesh plans to build a ‘Dhaka Bypass’ at about US$30.87 million under a public-private partnership initiative to improve traffic congestion in the overcrowded city.

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Tags: Bangladesh, BBIN, Transport

June 2015

Commentaries on BBIN MVA from Across the Subregion

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal formed a subregional grouping under the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Framework, and signed a Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) allowing seamless transit across each other's territories at the Meeting of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal Transport Ministers on Regional Road Transport Connectivity. Several commentaries from across the region have been published on the BBIN MVA, and are shared below.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, BBIN, Transport

June 2015

Sea-Bridge May Connect India and Sri Lanka

The construction of a sea-bridge and an underwater tunnel linking the 23 kilometer stretch between Talaimannar, Sri Lanka and Dhanushkodi, India is under discussion, according to India’s Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari. The sea bridge would help expand the trans-South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation road and transport network.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Transport

June 2015

ADB to Support US$6 Billion in Regional Connectivity Projects

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to provide about US$6 billion for projects in Bangladesh, including regional connectivity road transport and railway networks. ADB – through its country partnership program 2016-2018 – is committed to supporting regional connectivity in South Asia that boosts trade and commerce.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Transport

June 2015

Asian Development Bank Reaffirms Commitment to Road Connectivity Projects in Bhutan

Asian Development Bank Vice President Wencai Zhang reaffirmed ADB’s continuous commitment to Bhutan highway projects and the development of the country's wider road sector in discussions with Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Finance Minister and ADB Governor Namgay Dorji focusing on current and future ADB operations in Bhutan during his visit to Thimphu on 15 June. Improvements in Bhutan's infrastructure will help improve and diversify the economy.

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Tags: Bhutan, Transport, Trade Facilitation

June 2015

BBIN MVA Says “Together We Can”

Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay remarked on the strong commitment shown by the transport ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal in facilitating transport and increasing regional integration between the four countries, during a meeting held on the sidelines of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Transport Ministers Meeting on Regional Road Connectivity in Thimphu, Bhutan. The Prime Minister said the signed Motor Vehicles Agreement sends a strong message to SAARC and addresse

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, SAARC

June 2015

SASEC Railway Connectivity Project Facilitates Subregional Connectivity

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is set to further enhance transport connectivity within Bangladesh, and between Bangladesh and India, through the SASEC Railway Connectivity: Akhaura-Laksam Double Track Project. This $505 million ADB project will upgrade critical sections of Bangladesh Railway's Dhaka-Chittagong corridor and boost its market share in freight services.

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Tags: Transport, Bangladesh, Rail, India

June 2015

BBIN Agreement on Motor Vehicles Signed

The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) transport ministers met in Thimphu, Bhutan on 15 June 2015 to endorse and sign the Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN MVA). The BBIN MVA facilitates land transport arrangements among the four countries.

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Tags: ADB, BBIN, Transport

May 2015

Coastal Shipping Approved between India and Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the Agreement on Coastal Shipping between India and Bangladesh to carry out coastal movement of goods between the two countries. Bangladesh is currently India’s largest trade partner in South Asia and the coastal route is expected to provide an alternative route for transportation of import-export cargo between the two countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport

May 2015

Inception Workshop on Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor

The State Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Asian Development Bank reviewed the inception report for the Regional Perspective Plan of the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), India’s first coastal corridor on 29 May in Hyderabad, India. Industrial analysis, infrastructure development and business regulatory reform proposals were presented.

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Tags: India, Transport, Trade, manufacturing

May 2015

Potentially Large Gains from Enhanced South Asia-Southeast Asia Connectivity

The time is ripe to enhance economic integration between South Asia and Southeast Asia according to a joint study by the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank Institute. While cross-subregional trade has increased from $4 billion to $90 billion over a 23-year period, bottlenecks in infrastructure, financial markets, trade facilitation, trade barriers and regional cooperation continue to limit further improvement of economic ties.

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Tags: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Transport, Trade Facilitation

May 2015

BBIN to sign Motor Vehicles Agreement on 15 June

In a move toward subregional cooperation, transport ministers of four South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal – will meet in Thimphu, Bhutan on 15 June 2015 to sign the Motor Vehicles Agreement. This will allow seamless movement of vehicles through their borders, similar to European Union countries.

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Tags: BBIN, Transport, SAARC

May 2015

India Pledges Second Line of Credit to Bangladesh for Transport, Energy

A month after India pledged another Line of Credit to Bangladesh, the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance of the Government of Bangladesh prepared 11 development project proposals on various sectors including transport, education, information technology, and energy. The total cost of the proposed projects is estimated at $2.71 billion.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Economy, India, Transport

May 2015

Third Airport Terminal Receives Nod from Bangladesh Prime Minister

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the directive to go ahead with the construction of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to handle growing passenger capacity and strengthen connectivity in the international arena. PM Hasina views Bangladesh as an important hub – a bridge between East and West.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Infrastructure

May 2015

India-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade Potential

At the seminar on ‘Bangladesh-India Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade: Challenges and Opportunities’, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 13 May 2015, policy and economic experts urged the two governments to remove navigation problems, reform customs procedures, develop ports, address lack of infrastructure facilities, and resolve policy constraints to tap into the potential of inland water transit.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Transport

May 2015

Relief and Rehabilitation Efforts in India-Nepal Border Towns, through Partnership with Nepal Forum

More than 170 tons of relief goods was sent by India to Nepal using the rail route from Old Delhi to Raxaul, in response to the earthquake in Nepal. Senior officials of India's National Disaster Management Authority supervised this relief effort. India's West Bengal Government also gave assistance by coordinating needed relief items with the Government of Nepal and the Nepal Army.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Transport, Rail

April 2015

India, Bangladesh Ratify Coastal Shipping Agreement

A coastal shipping agreement between Bangladesh and India was ratified on 21 April 2015 in New Delhi. Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Shafiq Alam Mehedi and Indian Shipping Secretary Rajib Kumar ratified the deal to facilitate trade and transportation of goods through water routes between the two countries.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Transport

April 2015

Bhutan Prime Minister Visits Sri Lanka, Discusses Aviation

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, accompanied by several Cabinet Ministers, engaged in bilateral talks with the visiting Prime Minister and Bhutanese delegation. Both countries pledged to enhance bilateral cooperation and establish air links between Paro and Colombo.

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Tags: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Transport

March 2015

ADB, Government of India Sign $300 Million Loan Boosting Regional Road Connectivity

ADB and the Government of India signed a $300 million loan agreement on 26 March 2014 to improve road connectivity and increase domestic and regional trade along the North Bengal-Northeastern Region international trade corridor. This loan is the first under a $500 million multitranche South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program (SRCIP) approved by ADB in 2014.

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Tags: India, Transport, Asian Highway

March 2015

SAARC CCI Proposes Subregional Blocs to Address Common Economic Agendas

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) plans to form subregional blocs that will address common economic issues of its member countries to increase intra-regional trade.  This was proposed under the SAARC CCI Action Plan for 2015, tabled during a joint session of SAARC CCI's 62nd Executive Committee and 20th General Assembly in New Delhi, India on 10 March 2015.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, Trade, Transport, India

February 2015

Railway Sector Investment Program Approaching Completion

The Railway Sector Investment Program, approved by the Asian Development Bank on October 2006 as a multitranche financing facility with total cost of $537.5 million, is approaching completion within 2015. The project contributes to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in Bangladesh by improving the country's railway network.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Poverty Reduction

February 2015

SASEC Transport Project Improving Bhutan-India Connectivity Receives Go Signal

Works to improve road connectivity and facilitate trade between Bhutan and India are set to begin soon along the Phuentsholing-Jaigaon border. An Asian Development Bank-financed project under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program will construct a bypass road from Jaigaon, India to Pasakha in Bhutan and include a mini-dry port in Phuentsholing. A land customs station will also be constructed in Pasakha to monitor the bypass road.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Trade Facilitation, Transport

February 2015

Motor Vehicles Deal Underway for Seamless Transport through BBIN Subregion

An agreement that will enable seamless transit of  passenger and goods along designated key routes in the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) subregion is in the pipeline. It will reduce costly and time-consuming unloading and loading of people and cargo at border crossing points. The agreement would help transform transport corridors linking BBIN into economic corridors and enhance people-to-people contact.

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Tags: Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

February 2015

Asian Development Bank to Give $1 Billion Credit to Improve Nepal's Infrastructure

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao called on Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on 3 February 2015 during a visit to Nepal, and met with Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and National Planning Commission Vice Chairperson Govinda Pokharel. ADB plans to provide about $1 billion in concessional loans and about $13 million in technical assistance grants to Nepal over the next three years to support faster and more inclusive growth in the country.

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Tags: ADB, Nepal, Energy, Transport, Trade Facilitation

January 2015

Nepal Subregional Transport Enhancement Project Receives ADB Award

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recognized exemplary project implementation of five best-performing projects on 18 January 2015, naming the Subregional Transport Enhancement Project (STEP), a South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) project in Nepal, Best in Safeguard Monitoring.

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Tags: Nepal, Trade Facilitation, Transport

January 2015

Third India-Bangladesh Border Haat Inaugurated

Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and India Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman jointly inaugurated the first border market (“haat”) along the Tripura-Bangladesh frontier on 13 January 2015. Both ministers spoke optimistically about new opportunities for trade during the inauguration ceremony.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade, Transport

December 2014

Bhutan Trucks May Now Enter Bangladesh

Bhutanese trucks carrying import/export cargo are now able to enter Bangladesh via India, according to Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed during a visit to Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on 7 December 2014. The new agreement will allow trucks to carry products directly from Bangladesh for import to Bhutan.

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Tags: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Transport, Trade Facilitation

November 2014

SAARC Moves toward Multimodal Connectivity in South Asia

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries are currently working on six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that will link South Asia by rail, road, air and sea, to stimulate greater trade within the region.  This includes the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Regional Railways Agreement.

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Tags: Connectivity, South Asia, Transport

November 2014

Boarding Soon: Direct Flights between Nepal-Sri Lanka

Direct flights between Nepal and Sri Lanka—through capital cities Kathmandu and Colombo—are scheduled to resume in early 2015. This move is expected to boost connectivity, further increasing trade and tourism between the two countries.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Transport

November 2014

SASEC Program Launches Mobile App

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program has released a mobile app now available for download. This free app is your one-stop shop for the latest information on SASEC Program projects, news, events, and other knowledge products.

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Tags: Connectivity, Energy, Transport, Trade Facilitation

October 2014

Fourth Session of UNESCAP's Transport Committee Focuses on Sustainable Development

Integrating sustainable development into the Asia-Pacific region's transport sector was a key focus of the Fourth Session of the Transport Committee organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The event, held on 15-17 October 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand, was attended by over 120 participants from 34 countries, and discussed key aspects of transport policy and initiatives promoted by ESCAP.

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Tags: Rail, Transport, UNESCAP

October 2014

Reconstruction of Pallai-Jaffna Rail Line Restores Connectivity to India, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa marked the completion of the 38 km long Pallai-Jaffna railway line under the Indian credit line of $800 million last 13 October 2014. The reconstruction of this Northern Railway line by IRCON International Ltd, a public sector enterprise under the Government of India, links Sri Lanka’s conflict-ridden Northern Province to Colombo.

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Tags: India, Transport, Rail

October 2014

UNESCAP's Transport Committee Drafts Regional Cooperation Framework for Facilitation of International Railway Transport

A draft Regional Cooperation Framework for Facilitation of International Railway Transport was discussed at a regional meeting organized by the Transport Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) on 13-15 October 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Tags: Transport, Regional Cooperation, UNESCAP

September 2014

Government of Nepal Requests Financing for Bridges

The Government of Nepal has requested financing from the Government of India for construction of bridges across the Terai as part of the second phase of a road project linking the East-West Highway to several border points. Around 62 bridges are required for the project.

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Tags: India, Infrastructure, Nepal, Transport

September 2014

Transport in the Asian Century

In the largest gathering of transport officials and industry and sector professionals in Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank’s bi-annual Transport Forum 2014 discussed project updates, transport policies, and best practices, including new innovations in sustainable transport. Panel discussants on cross-border transport in Asia featured customs as the biggest challenge in regional growth transport.

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Tags: Transport, Customs

September 2014

BIMSTEC Secretariat Inaugurated in Dhaka

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Secretariat headquarters was formally opened on 13 September 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina leading the inaugural ceremonies.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Bangladesh, Transport, Technical Assistance

September 2014

Single Permit System Proposed for SAARC Road Transport

A single permit system facilitating easy movement of goods and people through road transport within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region may soon be a possibility, as SAARC member states consider this proposal during a meeting of SAARC officials in Rajasthan, India.

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Tags: Transport, SAARC, Connectivity

September 2014

Bhutan Prime Minister Extends Gratitude to ADB for 3 Decades of Partnership

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 5 September 2014 to thank the organization for contributing to Bhutan’s development throughout its 30-year partnership. He spoke to the Board of Directors, ADB staff, and the Bhutanese community as part of ADB’s Eminent Speaker Forum, “Bhutan’s Economic Vision: Prosperity for All” and launched the book, “20th by 2020: Bhutan Drive for Improved Governance”.

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Tags: Bhutan, Transport, Energy

September 2014

80-Vehicle Trial Run of ESCAP Secure Cross-border Transport Model along Bhutan-India Transit Corridor

In follow-up to the limited pilot run of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific's Secure Cross-border Transport Model, officials from India and Bhutan Customs administrations participated in trial runs of 80 vehicles along the Kolkata-Jaigon-Phuentsholing transit corridor between Bhutan and India on 1—5 September 2014.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, India, Bhutan, Transport

August 2014

Bangladesh to Open Sea Ports to Neighbors

Following a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of an India-Bangladesh business conclave on 24 August 2014, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Tapan Chakraborty said that Bangladesh will allow neighboring countries to use Ashuganj and Chittagong sea ports for multi-modal transport. This move is expected to further enhance economic integration among South Asian countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bilateral Trade, India, Connectivity, Transport

August 2014

'Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity': UNESCAP's Roadmap to An Inclusive Future

Economic dynamism in the Asia-Pacific region has been driven primarily by individual economies, yet to ensure sustainable growth in the future, countries must integrate and cooperate to share prosperity, according to the 2014edition of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Poverty Reduction, UNESCAP, Asia-Pacific, Energy, Connectivity, ICT, LDC, SASEC, Trade, Transport

August 2014

Bangladesh Finance Minister Bullish about Relations with India

Bangladesh Finance Minister Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith told reporters that good relations between Bangladesh and India are beneficial to both countries. Prior to the press interview, Finance Minister Muhith met with visiting Asian Development Bank Vice President Mr. Bindu Lohani to discuss further enhancing connectivity between Bangladesh and India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bilateral Trade, India, Transport

August 2014

India Extends US$1 Billion Loan to Nepal for Energy, Infrastructure Projects

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a two-day visit to Kathmandu, Nepal on 3-4 August 2014, the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years. At a speech delivered to the Parliament of Nepal, Modi announced India’s desire to help Nepal and offered an additional soft loan of US $1 billion for energy projects and infrastructure development.

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Tags: Energy, India, Nepal, Regional Cooperation, Transport

July 2014

SASEC Road Connectivity Project Boosts Bhutan's Trade Competitiveness

The Asian Development Bank approved just over $50 million for Bhutan’s South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Road Connectivity Project on 31 July 2014. The project will increase Bhutan's trade competitiveness by improving cross-border movement of people, goods, and business through construction and upgrading of the national highway network, and creating essential trade and trade facilitation infrastructure.

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Tags: Trade, Bhutan, Transport

July 2014

Railway Link to India’s Border by 2020

China initially opened the railway to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, in 2006 as part of its national plan to boost development. The railway is envisioned to be linked to Rasuwagadhi, Nepal through the Shigatse-Kerung stretch. Rasuwagadhi is about 500 kilometers from Shigatse. There are plans to extend the railway linking Tibet with the rest of the country during 2016-2020 to two separate points on the border of Nepal and on the border of India and Bhutan.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Transport

July 2014

Coastal Shipping between Bangladesh and India to Enhance Transport Efficiency, Trade

A coastal shipping arrangement between Bangladesh and India will soon facilitate faster shipment of goods between the two countries, and enable better access to India's northeastern regions. It is also expected to give bilateral trade a boost. Trials runs in Chittagong port and Kolkata port are scheduled to begin by October 14.

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Tags: Transport, Regional Cooperation, Connectivity

July 2014

Chittagong Port Sees Steady Increase in Container Handling

Bangladesh's Chittagong Port recorded a rise of 10.46% in container handling during fiscal year 2013-2014. This statistic counts as Chittagong Port's biggest growth in terms of cargo handled. ADB approved the Chittagong Port Trade Facilitation Project in October 2004 to increase the capacity of its container terminal.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh

July 2014

India-Nepal Joint Task Force Set Up

As part of India’s SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program, India and Nepal have set up a Joint Technical Task Force for the Mechi River Crossing. The first meeting was held in New Delhi on 4 July 2014 at the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, Government of India.

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Tags: Transport, India, Nepal

July 2014

Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway Prepared for PPP

The Asian Development Bank-financed Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway Public-Private Partnership Design Project will assist the Government of Bangladesh to prepare detailed engineering design documents of the existing two-lane Dhaka-Chittagong highway that will be developed into a six-lane freeway. It will provide badly-needed additional road capacity. Several firms were chosen in the joint venture that is expected complete the project in 2023.

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Tags: Transport, Bangladesh, India

June 2014

ADB-GIZ Regional Workshop for Green Freight and Logistics

Over 100 participants gathered to discuss green freight and logistics at a regional training workshop organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The workshop took stock of best practices and systematic approaches toward efficient logistics and green freight, and provided a platform to explore multiple initiatives currently being developed in Asia.

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Tags: Transport, Regional Cooperation, Sustainability

June 2014

Bhutan and India to Pilot Secure Cross-Border Cargo Model

The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan and India are moving to more sophisticated technologies in an effort to increase trade efficiencies between the two countries. In May 2014, government officials from Bhutan and India agreed to embark on a feasibility study that will pilot UNESCAP's Secure Cross-Border Transport Model (SCBTM) along key trade corridors, aimed at speeding up and reducing the cost of trade through designated land routes and border-crossing points.

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Tags: Transport, Connectivity, Economic corridor

May 2014

$762 Million for Road and ‘Last-Mile’ Connectivity in Northeastern India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a multitranche financing facility of $500 million for the SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program (SRCIP) in March 2014, which aims to increase domestic and regional trade through North Bengal and Northeastern Region (NB-NER) of India. The overall investment program will rehabilitate and upgrade about 500 kilometers (km) of regional connectivity roads, including both national highways and state roads.

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Tags: Transport, India, SAARC

April 2014

South Asia Needs $2.5 Trillion Investment to Close Infrastructure Gap

South Asia’s tremendous growth is leading to large infrastructure gaps that need to be addressed. According to a new report, “Reducing Poverty by Closing South Asia’s Infrastructure”, closing the gap of South Asia’s development goals and its capability to attain these goals needs a $2.5 trillion investment over the next decade.

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Tags: Infrastructure, Transport, Energy

April 2014

Launch of Asian Development Outlook 2014

The Asian Development Outlook, ADB’s flagship economic publication provides comprehensive macroeconomic analysis in Asia including growth projections by country and region. The Asian Development Outlook 2014 forecasts that developing Asia will grow 6.2% in 2014 and 6.4% in 2015.

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Tags: Trade, Transport, Economy

March 2014

BIMSTEC Senior Officials Visit the Myawaddy-Kawkareik Section of the Trilateral Highway Project

BIMSTEC senior officials visited the Myawaddy-Kawkareik Road Project in Myanmar on 20 March 2014, at the southeastern end of the Trilateral Highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand. The $38 million Government of Thailand-financed project is upgrading and constructing 45.5 kilometers of national highway, and rehabilitating the Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Bridge.

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Tags: Transport, Connectivity, BIMSTEC

March 2014

Third BIMSTEC Summit of Leaders Convenes in Myanmar

The Third Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit of Leaders and related events was held on 1-4 March 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Member States – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Sri Lanka – strengthened their resolve to jointly promote rapid economic development, and accelerate social progress in the sub-region.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Transport, Trade

February 2014

$125 Million to Upgrade Roads in India's Northeastern Region

On 17 February 2014, the Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $125 million loan for the second tranche of the ADB-financed North Eastern States Road Investment Program, approved in 2013. Reconstruction and rehabilitation of more than 236 kilometers (km) of state roads in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura will contribute to increased transport efficiency in the project area, as well as better mobility and accessibility in the wider North Eastern region of India.

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Tags: India, Infrastructure, Transport

February 2014

Upgrade of Jaidevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Highway in Bangladesh Underway

Aligned with South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC), the Government of Bangladesh will implement a Tk 27.88 billion ($358. 59 million) project to upgrade the Jaidevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga highway which forms part of Asian Highway-2, Asian Hghway-41, and SAARC Highway Corridor-4 to facilitate road connectivity with neighboring countries.

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Tags: Transport, Connectivity, Bangladesh

November 2012

SASEC Trade Facilitation and Transport Working Group Reviews $4 Billion Portfolio

Trade facilitation and transport officials of SASEC countries reviewed planned priority sub-regional projects totaling over $4 billion over the next three years.

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Tags: Bhutan, SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Transport

May 2012

SASEC Nodal Officials Meeting

The Nodal Officials of the SASEC Program met at the sidelines of the 45th ADB Annual Meeting in Manila on 3 May 2012.

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Tags: ADB, Energy, ICT, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, South Asia, Trade Facilitation, Transport

March 2012

Kunming Conference

About 160 officials from 30 countries participated in the ADB conference on RCI held on 26-27 March in the PRC.

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Tags: ADB, Climate Change, Economic corridor, Environment, Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, South Asia, Sustainability, Transport, Trade Facilitation

March 2012

SASEC Trade Facilitation and Transport Working Group Meeting in Kolkata

Following the SASEC Trade Facilitation and Transport Working Group (TFTW) Meeting in Bangkok in October 2011 the TFTWG met again in Kolkata on 5 March 2012 and agreed on a list of investment and technical assistance projects.

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Tags: India, Investment, SASEC, Thailand, Trade Facilitation, Transport

March 2012

Dhaka-Chittagong Expressway Public-Private Partnership Design Project

Road transport is the primary mode of land transportation in Bangladesh responsible for 70% of passengers and 60% of freight.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Public-Private Partnership, Road, Transport