Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the first-ever India-Bangladesh energy pipeline via video-conferencing on Saturday. The pipeline has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 377 crore, with the Indian government bearing approximately Rs 285 crore for laying the portion on the Bangladesh side as grant assistance.
According to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, “this is the first cross-border energy pipeline between India and Bangladesh.”
It will run from the Siliguri-based marketing terminal of the Numaligarh Refinery (NRL) in India to Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation’s Parbatipur depot. The fuel transport deal that the two neighbours have inked will remain in effect for 15 years. There is an option to extend the agreement during subsequent phases further, if both countries reach a consensus on doing the same.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that the operation of this India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline would allow the countries to transport high-speed diesel (HSD) in a sustainable, reliable, cost-effective and environment-friendly manner. As such, it is expected further to enhance cooperation in energy security between the two nations.
The pipeline can transport one million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of high-speed diesel, which will be supplied initially to seven districts in northern Bangladesh.
In recent years, the diplomatic ties between India and Bangladesh have been strengthening, particularly in terms of economic cooperation. The rapid ascent of Bangladesh as India’s leading trading partner in South Asia has caught the attention of industry experts and policy makers alike. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Bangladesh is now the fourth largest destination for Indian exports globally, with a value of $16 billion.
As the two nations aim to deepen their trade relationship, they are presently engaged in formulating a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that could have far-reaching implications for their respective economies. With this agreement, India’s exports to Bangladesh have the potential to double to $32 billion in the near-term. This development presents a unique opportunity for businesses in both countries to leverage each other’s strengths and promote mutual growth.