Dhaka and New Delhi on Monday agreed to develop an inland container terminal at Ashuganj Port in Bangladesh with Indian assistance and to commence transshipments at the port.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and her Indian counterpart Mr. S M Krishna also agreed that necessary formalities for use of Chittagong and Mongla seaports for movement of goods to and from India would be completed on urgent basis.
According to a joint statement issued after Mr. Krishna and Mr. Moni co-chaired the first meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee, both sides reiterated their commitment to early finalisation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for construction of the Akhaura-Agartala railway link, to be built with grant-in-aid assistance from India. The ministers directed the officials to urgently take up infrastructure development work and land acquisition activities.
The two ministers noted that increase in trade and investment between the two countries was mutually beneficial, and pledged to continue their efforts to promote balanced and broad-based trade, including border trade.
Both sides agreed that the decision by India in 2011 to grant zero-duty access to all goods (except 25 items on the Negative List) had opened new opportunities for expansion of Bangladesh's exports to India.
They welcomed the outcome of the recent meeting of the commerce secretaries and the renewal of the Trade Agreement for three years. They agreed that both sides should similarly extend the validity of the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade.
Both Dhaka and New Delhi called for "more vigorous efforts" to upgrade border infrastructure, includingLand Customs Stations and Integrated Check Posts, and removal of non-tariff barriers on both sides.
They noted that both sides had succeeded in arriving at an understanding on the Mutual Cooperation Agreement between Bureau of Indian Standards and the Bangladesh Standards Institute and stressed that it should be concluded at an early date.
The ministers also welcomed the agreement to commence a bus service on the Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati sector. It was agreed to expeditiously conclude the Motor Vehicles Agreement for regulation of passenger and cargo traffic.
The two sides reviewed the status of implementation of projects under the USD 1-billion Indian Line of Credit extended by India to Bangladesh. They noted that projects worth USD 810.46 million had been agreed upon and had been under implementation.
The two ministers directed the ministries concerned to expedite procedures and finalise the preparation of Detailed Project Reports for new projects so that the benefits could reach the people.
The two sides agreed to expedite the implementation of development projects including construction of a cultural centre, undertaking feasibility study for upgradation of Dhaka-Chittagong railway line, setting up of information technology (IT) labs in 64 model schools and IT centres at Military Institute for Science & Technology, Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre and Bangladesh Police Academy, and provision of solar lamps for 2,800 families affected by the Sidr cyclone.