Quarterly Newsletter
Issue #5, January-March, 2021
Bangladesh, India for four more ports of call
The proposed ports are Matarbari Port and Muktarpur Port in Bangladesh, and Dhamra Port and Kamarajar Port in India.
The two countries are noted to be working to amend the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the shipping agreement. The four new ports of call will be added once the amendment to the SOP is made.
Imagining a different South Asia with Banglabandhu
As we look back on Banglabandhu’s life and struggle, PM Narendra Modi asks himself, what could the subcontinent have looked like, had this modern day giant not been assassinated?
It is a safe bet that with Banglabandhu at the helm, Bangladesh and India would have evolved along a very different trajectory. A closely integrated economic region, with deeply interlinked value-chains could have been built. www.thedailystar.net/
Harnessing benefits of connectivity
Bilateral relations are at a new height now given the deep political and strategic understanding between the heads of the two friendly governments.
The driving factors behind efforts for working together are aspirations of re-integrating the economies of a geographically integrated region with many complementarities, political aims to develop the borders as access points for integrated development, and ambitions to encourage optimal utilisation of the demographic dividends in the region.
Bangladesh enters era of paperless trade
Bangladesh as member country of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed to reduce hassles in cross-border trade and to expedite customs activities.
The paperless trade facilitation aims at accelerating the implementation of digital trade facilitation measures for trade and development. It will reduce time and harassment in export and import of goods, especially in less developed countries.
Brand Bhutan and tourism in BIMSTEC
The ‘high-value, low volume’ tourism policy ensures that the number of tourists arriving is consistent with the absorptive carrying capacity of the natural endowment, socio-cultural values, infrastructure, and services and does not exacerbate vulnerabilities as a small nation.
The tourism policy envisioned and promulgated by the Fourth King in the early 1970s envisages targeting mindful and responsible visitors, creating value for money experiences, operationalising a “less is more” economic model, and ensuring quality infrastructure, services, and tourism products.
Bangladesh, Bhutan to examine rail network through India
Bangladesh and Bhutan have agreed to explore a possible railway network between the two countries through recently launched India’s Chilahati-Haldibari railway connection.
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and her Bhutanese counterpart Lotay Tshering agreed to examine the matter to establish railway network between Bangladesh and Bhutan. They also agreed to examine the possibility of establishing cargo flight communication connecting Bhutanese town Gelephu and Bangladesh's Lalmonirhat and Saidpur. https://www.dhakatribune.com/
Bhutan’s graduation from LDC on track
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Bhutan is well on track to graduate from the club of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2023, according to the UN’s Committee for Development Policy (CDP).
The CDP’s LDC Monitoring Report 2021 states that Bhutan will be graduating in 2023, coinciding with the end of the 12th Plan. It adds that the country is making good progress in preparing for a smooth transition strategy and plans for appropriate actions to address challenges posed by the LDC graduation and the impacts of the Covid-19.
Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering Thanks PM Narendra Modi for Additional 400,000 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Covishield
Bhutan Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji said that India had offered unconditional support in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
India delivered the first consignment of 150,000 doses of Covishield vaccines to Bhutan in January, 2020 making it the first country to receive the gift from India. Bhutan had received additional 400,000 doses of Covishield vaccine from India, making possible the nationwide rollout of the vaccination programme against Covid-19.
Coastal shipping will lead to better connectivity: Mandaviya
Movement of goods between the north east and Bhutan using Chittagong port through National Waterways (NW)-2 has been tested.
The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade will improve trade between the two countries and promote better connectivity with other neighbouring countries. This waterway will connect land locked countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar to smoothen trade.
Act East: India promotes digital connectivity with ASEAN through mega hackathon
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) implemented this initiative with the support of nodal agencies from all ten ASEAN coutries.
For 36 hours, 330 students and 90 mentors from the 10 ASEAN countries and India worked together online and competed as 54 teams to come up with innovative solutions to 11 problem statements. The Problem Statements covered two major themes – Blue Economy and Education. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/
Indian Railways Eastern & Western DFCs to be operational by India’s 75th year of independence
Under the first phase of the DFC project, 1504 Rkm WDFC and 1856 Rkm EDFC including the PPP section between Sonnagar-Dankuni is being constructed.
The EDFC will begin from Sahnewal, pass via the states of Punjab, UP, Haryana, Bihar and Jharkhand and then terminate in the state of West Bengal, while the WDFC will connect Dadri to JNPT, Mumbai. The freight corridor will pass via Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra of both the DFCs.
India's longest bridge to bring NE closer to rest of India, Bhutan, Bangladesh
PM Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for building the country’s longest bridge- Dhubri(Assam)- Phulbari (Meghalaya) over the Brahmaputra river.
The bridge will reduce travel distance from 205 km to only 19 km and travel time from six hours to 20 minutes and will serve more than two million commuters. It will improve regional connectivity by connecting Bangladesh and Bhutan through Dalu and Hatisar via Tura, Phulbari, Srirampur and Samthaibari.
Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS): Revolutionising Nepal’s trade
Advantages and reforms that have been brought about since the implementation of ECTS make its benefits self-evident.
After due consideration and assistance of the Asian Development Bank, Nepal and India entered a Memorandum of Intent on 7 June 2017, it was bilaterally agreed to launch a pilot project to facilitate transit traffic by using ECTS. As the system is relatively new, there is plenty of misinformation in the market, which the importers need to be wary of.
India agrees to sell additional 100 MW electricity to Nepal
With the new provision, Nepal can now import up to 800 MW of electricity from its southern neighbor.
At a time when Nepal has completed the construction of a substation at the location, India’s accord will enable the country to import up to 350 MW through the cross-border network. Nepal has already been using the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line to import 250 MW of electricity from India.
Government mulling water transportation in big rivers: Minister Nembang
The government had forwarded the process to launch water transportation in the big river of the country, said the Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport in “Maritime India Summit 2021”.
A study is underway to conduct water transportation in the Karnali, Narayani, Kaligandaki and Koshi rivers and connect India via water. Nepal has been making efforts for long to conduct water transportation. The “Maritime India Summit” was held for three days.
Nepal, Bangladesh sign four MoUs to enhance cooperation, connectivity
Nepal and Bangladesh have signed four memorandums of understanding aiming to boost cooperation in the fields of culture, tourism, sanitation, and connectivity
The agreements were signed during the two-day visit of Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. She also suggested linking rivers in the region so that the waterways could be developed as alternate routes for trade.


Accelerating women’s participation in the BBIN supply chains is an imperative
   The BBIN sub-region has an opportunity to become more proactive in fostering inclusive trade and transport infrastructure.
Ensure human dignity for a better Indo-Bangla border management | 09.02.2021
Enforcing human dignity for informal workers will not just build their confidence in developing infrastructure but will also enhance the quality of their participation.
View: Enhancing Siliguri corridor for ease of trade and transit in South Asia | 20.02.2021
   The potential of Siliguri can help materialise an inclusive transport-led growth for this region, keeping northeast India at its centre.
View: Bangladesh to benefit more from cooperation beyond trade and infrastructure connectivity | 20.03.2021
While bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh is steadily increasing, there should be more focus on investment and knowledge cooperation.
Seamless connectivity imperative for recovery from pandemic in South Asian's BBIN sub-region | 26.02.2021
   Seamless connectivity will make the movement of goods and people resilient to future shocks and will also increase the sub-region's transport and logistics competitiveness.
Political resolve imperative to realise potential of BBIN & Indo-Pacific connectivity | 23.03.2021
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) group of countries should now fast track the implementation of measures such as the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement.