Quarterly Newsletter
Issue #11, July-September, 2022


A case for a railway-led Integrated Check Post in Haldibari | September 17, 2022
Haldibari railway station in Cooch Behar, West Bengal, located at a distance of 4.5 km from the international border and 7.5 km from Chilahati railway station in Bangladesh, and donning both customs and immigration facilities, is ideally placed to be upgraded into an Integrated Check Post. That will reduce logistic cost and carbon emissions, enhance bilateral and sub-regional trade, and lead to prosperity of local people on both sides of the border.

Building a robust India-Bangladesh economic partnership | September 14, 2022
India and Bangladesh can double their bilateral trade by effectively implementing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Optimal use of existing and proposed connectivity initiatives is the key. The recent visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina to India from 5-8 September was a stride forward in building a robust Indo-Bangladesh economic partnership with a focus on trade and connectivity with the announcement on cooperation in energy, road infrastructure, and linkages through rail and inland waterways.

Transform Transport into Economic Artery | September 11, 2022
A major  challenge  to  cross-border  trade  of   Nepal  is  high  transport  cost and transit-related expenses arising   mainly   from   underdeveloped   transport corridors and cartelisation of  this sector by a few major players. This is further aggravated by the high  import  tax  of   288  per  cent  on  imported vehicles. Therefore, transforming  transport  corridors  into  economic  corridors, along with imparting greater competition in this sector, is imperative for  Nepal  to  reduce  its  transport  and  transit  costs,  thus,  boosting  intra-re-gional trade.

Improve railway logistics to ease trade in the Bay of Bengal region | July 13, 2022
While railway is considered an economical and efficient mode of transportation, cross-border railway connectivity in the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) region is constrained by varying track gauges, among other factors. Therefore, it is crucial for the BIMSTEC members to upgrade their railway logistics, particularly for transshipment at border points, to make the movements of goods and passengers easy and efficient in respect to time and cost
India passage to boost trade with Nepal, Bhutan
Bangladesh’s trade with Nepal and Bhutan will rise if Bangladeshi trucks are allowed to transport goods beyond its border.
Export from Bangladesh to its South Asian neighbours have remained consistently below their potential. It is due to absence of motor vehicle agreement between Bangladesh and India. The lack of a deal allowing Bangladeshi vehicles through India is preventing the country’s export potential to Nepal and Bhutan from reaching the optimum level. Additionally, businesses have to incur loading and unloading charges at the Bangladesh-India border.
Lack of a tripartite deal and transmission line may delay power export to Bangladesh
Nepal and Bangladesh recently agreed to request India for signing a trilateral energy sales and purchase agreement.

India’s Guidelines for Export/Import (Cross Border) of Electricity-2018, has opened the door for a trilateral agreement and power trade between Nepal and Bangladesh. Currently, Bangladesh and Nepal are engaged in energy trade with India. As Nepal and Bangladesh do not share borders and India lies between the two countries, India’s cooperation will be crucial to enable trading of electricity between Nepal and Bangladesh.
Significance Of Padma Bridge In South Asia’s Connectivity – OpEd
Padma bridge will help Bangladesh to improve the living standard of its people, increase trade and commerce, and fulfill its vision 2041 of transforming into a developed nation through increased connectivity.
Padma Bridge is not only a domestic development for Bangladesh; instead it is also a leap stone for the connectivity of the region. The Bridge has the potential to contribute to the regional economy. Therefore, proper economic and diplomatic effort should be given to utilise the bridge and improve overall connectivity that would certainly benefit others too.
Bangladesh-Bhutan PTA gives duty-free market access to more products
The preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Bangladesh and Bhutan that will give duty-free market access to more products from both the countries came into effect on 1 July.
The agreement will provide duty-free access to 10 products from Bangladesh in addition to the already 90 existing products. Meanwhile, 16 more Bhutanese products would enjoy duty-free export to Bangladesh along with the existing 18 products. The bilateral trade instrument would help further expand and diversify Bhutanese exports. Additionally, it was requested that the private sector should  familiarise the favourable market opportunities provided by the PTA.
Channelised payment mode to benefit all parties
The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan is directing exporters to use formal banking payment modes is expected to benefit both exporters and importers.
In 2021, according to the Bhutan Trade Statistics, total export to India, excluding electricity, accounted for Nu 26 billion (B). However, banking data shows the export receipts received was Nu 21B. This means there is an un-reconciled gap of Nu 5B, which is 19 percent of the total export remittances outside the formal banking channel. This adversely impacts the INR reserves, maintaining a fixed exchange rate with INR and revenue leakages.
The many exciting prospects of the Tashigang-Tawang road
The Tashigang in Bhutan and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh are two regions with multiple areas to explore in terms of trade, transport, tourism, and social and cultural aspects.
The road will bring economic opportunities to the people and create jobs. The supply of horticulture and agro products from Tawang, Lumla and Bongleng to Bhutan will help to grow the horticulture and agro-industry of Arunachal Pradesh similarly Bhutan can do the same. The opening of roads will also help in the booming tourism industry on both sides.
Both countries should ensure minimum cost and avoid delays to maintain viability of future hydro projects
An interview with Outgoing Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj on issues pertaining to hydropower projects, fuel prices and railway network.
The interview discussed India’s position on several issues such as Kholongchhu Hydropower Project, Punatsangchhu-I Hydroelectric Project’s (PHPA-I) barrage issues, India’s export tax on fuel, concession price of nano nitrogen fertiliser, and connecting connect Bhutan with Indian railway networks. It also threw light on the PHPA-II project, tariff agreements for all hydropower projects in Bhutan,  and price difference in purchase and sale of electricity.
Connectivity leading to Enhanced Productivity for India and Bhutan
Connectivity brings nations and people closer together, enhancing equality, providing opportunities of social mobility, leading to dynamic and vibrant societies and economies.

Diversifying away from the traditional pillars of development assistance and hydropower, India has strengthened its connectivity with Bhutan into new areas, through an enhanced digital footprint via space technologies and high-speed internet. The NKN-DrukREN link supports effective distance education by enabling virtual classrooms. It equips Bhutan’s hospital to provide telemedicine services through remote diagnosis and treatment of patients.
National Logistics Policy, and the need for freight-smart cities
Freight-smart cities cut transportation costs and delivery time of goods and services, catalysing economic activity.
Seamless movement of goods, services and people is the bedrock of any developed economy. The National Logistics Policy to provide an overarching vision for India’s logistics sector. It requires painstaking attention to detail, planning and execution.  Essentially, India has shaped a two-pronged blueprint for a logistics superhighway. The first step was the PM Gati Shakti – National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity; and the second step is the National Logistics Policy.
SAARC Is Dead. Long Live Subregional Cooperation
India-Pakistan rivalry and India’s isolation of Pakistan contributed to the death of the South Asian regional organisation. But India is keen on working with its other neighbors.
The annual South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) foreign minister’s meeting was canceled this year. For all practical purposes, SAARC has been defunct since 2014 after the last summit hosted by Nepal. Furthermore, India has already pivoted to alternative regional and subregional organisations such as BIMSTEC and the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Network).
MMLPs stirring up investment in India’s logistics sector | Logistics Insider
Multi-modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) are being hailed as 'the' way to solve India's supply chain problems, including the high logistics costs, with their improved and integrated connectivity.
India has been aggressively pushing for the development of MMLPs throughout the country with the aim of giving a much-needed boost to the logistics and  manufacturing industry. Back in mid-2021, MoRTH expressed its intention for developing 35 MMLPs under Public-Private Partnership. The MMLPs are expected to attract a private sector investment of around INR 50,000 crore and a public sector investment of around INR 25,000 crore.
Maersk completes first India-Bangladesh cross-border logistics transport via Waterways | Urban Transport News
A.P. Moller - Maerskhas successfully completed the first India-Bangladesh cross-border logistics of containerised cargo.

By transporting 50 containers (TEUs or Twenty Feet Equivalent Units) from Kolkata in India to a river port near Dhaka in Bangladesh on a barge on the National Waterways 1 on the India side, Maersk has created a new opportunity for customers to use the faster, more reliable inland waterways solution that connects the two countries.
Nepal electricity exports to India surge to USD 56 million in the last 4 months
Nepal exported electricity worth over 56 million U.S. dollars to India in nearly four months, the country's National Electricity Authority (NEA).
Nepal exported power valued at 7.19 billion Nepali rupees (56.19 million U.S. dollars) to India from early June to mid-September. Nepal hopes to earn more than 30 billion Nepali rupees (234 million dollars) in the fiscal year 2023-2024 by selling electricity to India. According to the negotiations between Nepal and India, Nepal can sell electricity in the Indian market through a competitive bidding.
Indo-Nepal bus services resume after a hiatus of 2 years
The bus will be available on a regular basis from Tenzing Norgay bus terminus to Kathmandu.

As per the latest development, Indo-Nepal bus services have started again after a hiatus of two long years. As per the news reports, a private bus operator with the help of North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) has started the Siliguri-Kakarvitta-Kathmandu bus service recently.
Nepal, Bangladesh agree on energy cooperation, beginning with 50MW power trade
Bangladesh has informed Nepal that it would be concluding the deal to buy 500MW electricity from 900MW Upper Karnali hydropower project.
Nepal and Bangladesh have decided to request India to allow export of 40-50MW of electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh in the initial phase utilising the high voltage direct current power systems located in Bheramara of Bangladesh.
India and Nepal set to seal one more node of cross-border connectivity soon
Nepal and India are all set to begin the construction of a new motorable bridge over the Mahakali River in a bid to increase trade and connectivity between two neighbouring countries.
On September 19, 2022 Nepal and India laid the foundation stone for the project of motorable bridge over the Mahakali River. This motorable bridge will link people living in remote villages of Sudurpaschim Province of Nepal with people in India’s Uttarakhand. The project will be built under India’s grant assistance as per the agreement signed between the two governments in February this year.
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