A memorandum, endorsed by leaders of civil society and chambers of commerce from both India and Bangladesh and providing concrete recommendations for enhancing Indo-Bangla Trade, was submitted to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh earlier today by the newly constituted Sub-Regional Independent Taskforce on Connectivity and Cooperation.
Among the endorsers were Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International; Farooq Sobhan, President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI); Anil Saraf, Director, Federation of Industries and Commerce of the North Eastern Region; Matlub Ahmad, President, Bangla-Indo Chamber of Commerce; and M.L. Debnath, President, Tripura Chamber of Commerce.
This task force emerged out of a stakeholder consultation organised by CUTS International in Agartala on August 9, according to a press release.
The CUTS is a civil society organisation, headquartered in Jaipur with international offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Lusaka and Hanoi, which is engaged in research and advocacy on issues relating to international trade, regulation and governance.
“The formation of this sub-regional taskforce is an important landmark in the evolution of Indo-Bangla trading relations as it represents a concerted effort to bring together representatives of civil society and chambers of commerce in both countries in influencing the future trajectory of trading relationships,” said Siddhartha Mitra, Convener of the Indian segment of the newly minted taskforce and Head, CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics and Environment.
“The recommendations of the taskforce include the facilitation of land, maritime and riverine connectivity for Indian goods through Bangladesh which would prove to be a win-win solution for both countries as it would greatly reduce transportation costs for India and yield significant revenues for Bangladesh,” he added.
A move is also being made to invite representatives from Nepal and Bhutan to the taskforce so that an integrated approach to the enhancement of trade in the sub-region can be followed.
“India is a source of connectivity to Bangladeshi merchandise headed for Nepal and Bhutan and vice versa and therefore these countries would play an important role in Indo- Bangla trading relations and in turn be affected by related developments,” the release added.
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