Quarterly Newsletter
Issue #7, July-September, 2021


Eastern Waterways Grid to benefit BBIN countries | 02.07.21
The eastern grid can rejuvenate the economies of the BBIN sub-region as it builds upon the existing network of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Routes (IBP).

A Blue MMLP Quadrilateral in the BBIN Sub-region | 26.08.21
India proposes a Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) grid to cater the demand of connecting economic and logistics hubs facilitating global and domestic trade.
BBIN sub-region needs cooperative approach for multi-modal connectivity: CUTS International | 03.09.21
  The BBIN sub-region should develop a cooperative approach for multi-modal connectivity, learning from successful sub-regional connectivity models of the world.

Multimodal connectivity key to boosting trade in BBIN sub-region: Stakeholders | 17.08.21
Multimodal connectivity involves road, river, sea, and air routes that enhance trade in BBIN countries and benefit not only the business community and people of the sub-region.
India Bangladesh trade agreement likely to be inked sooner than anticipated
Bangladesh is focusing on bilateral trade agreements which are less time consuming rather than a long drawn multilateral agreement.
India and Bangladesh are set to ink the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) soon. Bangladesh is soon to graduate from the Least Developing Countries (LDCs) status, and has stepped-up its strategies to protect its export market. Furthermore, Bangladesh and India are also in discussion to promote and facilitate trade and connectivity in the region.
Boost to India-Bangladesh railway connectivity! Freight services restored on Haldibari-Chilahati rail link
Sheikh Hasina and her India counterpart PM Narendra Modi had inaugurated the restored rail link on 17 December 2020.
Bangladesh and India have restored their fifth out of seventh rail links. This rail link is expected to boost connectivity and trade between the nations. The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was inaugurated in December 2020. All the exportable supplies are allowed from Bangladesh to India, while only limited items can be exported from India to Bangladesh. https://www.financialexpress.com/
Bangladesh setting up 7 new land ports with Northeast India
Trade with India’s Seven Sisters will get a boost
Bangladesh is working to set up a good connectivity with the northeastern part of India. At least, seven land ports are being constructed by Bangladesh with Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura. The upcoming land ports will boost the trade and connectivity of Bangladesh with all the seven northeastern states of the Indian subcontinent.
Eyes on the multi-modal connectivity for better sub-regional integration
Sub-regional connectivity initiatives can be optimised if the national development plans relating to connectivity infrastructures are considered and linked with the partner countries.
One of the major challenges in the BBIN sub-region is seamless connectivity. Over the last decade, Bangladesh has increasingly raised its trade with the sub-region. However, the true trade potential could not yet be utilised. The benefits of, ‘BIN’ MVA, multi-modal connectivity in terms of reduced congestion, environmental pollution, and trade time is acknowledged by all.
Gelephu transporters call for change in import protocol
Difficult to understand the protocol at the border gate, explained an Exporter from Gelephu.
Due to difficulty in understanding the import protocol at the border gate, the local transporters are not allowed to move freely within the nation while Indian transporters are allowed entry in Gelephu. Monopoly of Indian transporters has led to an increase in the transportation charges and hence, the price of the material.
Trade study finds Bhutan as capital-rich, labour poor and unskilled country
The Diagnostic Trade Integration Study Update 2020 has emphasised the need to diversify trade not only in terms of products, but also trading partners.
The report recommended that Bhutan needs to diversify its export rather than focusing on geographical diversification. The study states that Bhutan is a relatively capital-rich, labour-poor, by quantity not skills country with a small domestic market. One of the various recommendations in the report is the establishment of Bhutan’s economic development board to improve the economy. https://kuenselonline.com/
Bhutan's border lockdown sharpens petrol pain for residents of Jaigaon
Alipurduar town locals need to drive down to Hashimara, 18km away, to buy fuel, when they would earlier get it from Phuentsholing, 300 metres away
Residents of Jaigaon have to travel to Hasimara to fulfill their fuel needs instead of the Phuentsholing petrol station which is nearer to Jaigaon. This is due to the difference in the petrol prices as Bhutan does not impose duties on the imported petrol from India and hence, enjoy a much cheaper fuel.
Launch of BHIM-UPI in Bhutan to further strengthen bilateral ties: FM Nirmala Sitharaman
India launches BHIM-UPI services in Bhutan; it strengthens ties, says FM Sitharaman
Bhutan is the first country to formally adopt the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and issue and acceptor of RuPay card. The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMA), Bhutan’s central bank, will ensure the participating National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) mobile application through UPI QR transactions is accepted at all RMA acquired merchants in the country.
India’s integrated check posts are boosting regional connectivity but challenges remain
CSEP think tank researcher looked at India's increasing trade and passenger movement with Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to find why Delhi is pushing for border infrastructure development.
In 2018-19, the government manifested phase-wise development of ICPs and instead prioritised development based on freight and passenger volume. However, there are several challenges that exist across ICPs such as limited truck movement, absence of partner government agencies and others which need to be addressed to promote seamless regional trade and logistics.
Boosting river transport
Inland water transport in Assam is poised for a big leap
Inland water transport in Assam is ready to expand cargo movement along with the Brahmaputra and the formulation of a ship repair facility at Pandu. The Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) is signed between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to promote transportation through the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route, Brahmaputra waterways and Dhansiri river route.
Trans-Asian rail connectivity: South Asian perspective
The new corridor could provide transport connections to ensure the development of landlocked countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Nepal.
To develop connectivity and boost commercial activity, ITI-DKD-Y (Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad-Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka-Yangon) route has been proposed as the major rail freight transport corridor as a part of the Southern Corridor of the Trans Asia route (TAR). This corridor will provide transport connections to ensure the accessibility and development of landlocked countries. https://www.dailypioneer.com/

Rs 100 lakh crore Gati Shakti, for connectivity boost, to be unveiled in September
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has determined Rs 100 lakh crore to Gati Shakti Master Plan that endeavor multi-modal connectivity to more than 1,200 industrial clusters.
These clusters include 197 food processing parks and agro clusters, 202 fishing clusters and harbours, 2 defence corridors, 109 pharma and medical device clusters, and 90 textile clusters and parks. The aim of the project is to improve efficiency by optimising the necessary infrastructure and reducing the logistics cost.
Challenges in the Implementation of the BBIN MVA for Nepal
BBIN MVA offers various benefits to Nepal, if certain challenges are addressed
In present context, Nepal’s internal constraints including inadequate infrastructure, underdeveloped technologies, and others imposes certain challenges in the implementation of the BBIN MVA for Nepal. Therefore, a number of interventions such as political will, awareness and advocacy, and public-private collaborations is necessary for addressing the challenges faced by Nepal in implementing BBIN MVA.
Indo-Nepal rail connectivity: Indian Railways completes trial of 110kmph between Jayanagar-Kurtha
The 68.72 kilometer long Jayanagr-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway project has been funded entirely by the Indian Government
A speed trial of the first phase of Indian Railways’ of Jayanagar-Bardiwas rail project was completed successfully between Jayanagar and Kurtha in Nepal. The train operations on the Jayanagar-Kurtha section will promote movement between two nations, along with trade expansion and development of the surrounding regions.
India, Nepal ease cargo movement rules
Transportation costs of automobiles and products carried in special wagons are declining.
India and Nepal have agreed to allow cargoes in all categories through wagons that can carry freight on the Indian Railways network within India and also to and from Nepal. This results particularly in reducing transportation costs and will boost rail cargo movement between two countries.
Nepal keen to use Bangladeshi ports for international trade: Ambassador
Nepalese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dr. Banshidhar Mishra has requested to include Nepal in the discussion of the Ganges water agreement.
Dr. Mishra stated that trade between Nepal and Bangladesh is hampered by complex conditions including complications of multiple visas for Bangladeshis visiting Nepal. He mentioned that these complications will be reduced with the BBIN MVA. He said that Nepal is keen to use Bangladesh’s ports for international trade and reduce its dependence on Kolkata Port.