CEPA, maritime security on Bangladesh PM’s visit agenda next month

Both India and Bangladesh are keen on an early conclusion of the Bangladesh-specific Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

CEPA, maritime security on Bangladesh PM’s visit agenda next month
Both India and Bangladesh are keen on an early conclusion of the Bangladesh-specific Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Early next month, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina accompanied by an official delegation will visit India and the talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will focus on maritime cooperation, connectivity, comprehensive trade agreement along with defence and security.

Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be in India from September 6-8 and from New Delhi, she will also offer prayers at Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Dargah Sharif, Ajmer.

Enhancing connectivity

Both India and Bangladesh are keen to restore the pre-1965 railway lines links as well as establish other connectivity links. “Leaders of both sides are keen on improving the connectivity through rail, bus and waterways as that would help in strengthening trade and people to people relations,” said a senior officer.

Also Read – Neighbourhood First: Third train service to connect India & Bangladesh on June 1

In 2021 when Prime Minister Modi had visited the neighbouring country, both leaders together had inaugurated the third passenger train service ‘Mitali Express’ on the Dhaka-New Jalpaiguri-Dhaka route which will go through the Chilahati-Haldibari rail link. The two sides are also keen to establish greater integration of the North East with Bangladesh.

Also a freight train service from Dhaka to Siliguri in North West Bengal is planned between the two countries and a passenger train too going on the same route.

Also ReadNeighbourhood First: FMs of India and Bangladesh to discuss maritime security and FTA later this month 

In May, the foreign ministers of both countries Dr S Jaishankar and Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen had met in Guwahati, Assam to discuss various connectivity projects, as well as comprehensive trade agreement and other issues of mutual interests. This meeting as has been reported earlier was preparatory in nature to firm up the agenda for PM Hasina’s meeting with PM Modi.

CEPA signing

Both India and Bangladesh are keen on an early conclusion of the Bangladesh-specific Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). In fact when PM was in Dhaka in 2021, the two leaders had given instructions for an early conclusion of the joint feasibility study which would pave the way for CEPA.  During the forthcoming visit of the Bangladesh leader the two countries are expected to start formal negotiations for signing of the CEPA. Once this agreement is in place, this will help in boosting trade and investments between the two countries especially in the Eastern and North Eastern Region.

According to reports citing Dhaka-Delhi joint feasibility study, the proposed agreement is expected to further enhance the export earning of Bangladesh by 190 percent and India’s by 188 percent and gross domestic product by 1.72 percent and 0.03 percent. Trade in goods and services, ecommerce, investment, intellectual property rights, will all be covered in the CEPA negotiations. The export earnings of Bangladesh are expected to go up by $3-5 billion and India’s export to that country will be between $4-10 billion, according to the findings of the joint feasibility study.

Energy security

The two sides are also keen on expanding their energy cooperation. Also, the BBIN (Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal) platform which is about hydro-power connectivity — is expected to be on the agenda.

Countdown from LDC to Developing Nation for Bangladesh

In another three years Bangladesh will achieve its status of developing nation, which means there will be several changes in its economic engagements.

Also Read – Bangladesh will become a developing nation in 2026, poised for greater growth among SAARC nations: Expert

India & Bangladesh Military Cooperation

Joint production of military platforms, maritime security as well as Blue Economy will also be discussed between the two sides.

Visit to Ajmer Sharif

The Bangladesh leader is expected to visit Ajmer Sharif and will offer prayers at the Dargah. She has visited in the past, as recent as 2017 and she had offered “Chaadar’’.

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