Railways minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu today said his ministry has already started investing to connect India with its neighbouring countries, mainly Bangladesh. “The Railways have already invested enough to connect to our neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmmar. We had talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India (in April) and we had a meeting with a couple of her ministers in Delhi two days ago,” he said after dedicating a number of projects at the Howrah Railway Station. He said there is geographical and cultural similarity between Bangladesh and West Bengal, and the Centre is hopeful that the rail connectivity would strengthen the relation more. Incidentally, Maitree Express, an international passenger train connects Bangladesh to India through West Bengal. The Minister said West Bengal has lost its past importance as a centre of commerce and there is need for investing in infrastructure and referred to the Centre hiking the Railway budget for the state by around 300 per cent in 2017-18 compared to 2014-15. “West Bengal is an important state. Kolkata had been a very important commerce centre in Asia and contributed to the country. I am hopeful that the city will be able to restore its lost importance and for that there is need to develop the infrastructure through investments,” he said. Prabhu today dedicated a number of projects of Eastern Railways, including commissioning of double line between Beldanga and Cossimbazar in Sealdah division, third line between Gadadharpur and Tarapith Road stations in Howrah division among others. He dedicated a number of projects of South Eastern Railways including extension and upgrading stations in Santragachi-Amta suburban section. He also inaugurated commencement of work for the underground station at Esplanade under Kolkata East-West metro and a new escalator at Rabindra Sarobar station of Kolkata Metro railway.