Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said Bangladesh and India will soon be connected through six rail links; and India and Nepal by two rail links.
“Railways between countries are causing a rapid shrinking of South Asia’s geography,” he said, focusing on two sectors – connectivity and energy sector – where they have shown some “striking results.”
An India-Bangladesh friendship pipeline is also under construction and an LNG cross border pipeline and LNG terminal are being explored, said the foreign secretary.
He said India’s energy grids are increasingly being integrated with those of its neighbours.
Shringla made the remarks at the inaugural session of the training module on “India’s Neighbourhood” at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration Wednesday, reports UNB.
The foreign secretary said the only country that his country’s president, prime minister and external affairs minister have all visited since the pandemic struck has been Bangladesh, “cementing the very special” bilateral ties.
“They did so to cement a very special relationship on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh and the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations,” he said, adding that countries in their neighbourhood are of special significance to them.
Shringla said policy initiatives taken by India and its neighbours have implications for each other and ties with the neighbouring countries have direct relevance to theirsStates bordering these countries.
He said India also realises its prosperity and growth are linked to that of its neighbours. “We cannot develop unless our neighbours develop.”
Shringla said connectivity within parts of their neighbourhood by road, by water, by rail and by air, and often by multimodal transport, has steadily improved.
It is now possible to travel from Kolkata to Agartala by bus via Dhaka while goods can now reach Tripura using multi-modal networks through Chattogram and inland water routes, he said. “Improved connectivity means greater people-to-people contact and greater goodwill.”
Shringla said the Indian grid is connected to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh through high-capacity connections, and transnational movement of electricity in the neighbourhood is a reality.
India supplies about 1160 MW of power to Bangladesh, about 700 MW to Nepal, and imports 1.8 GW from Bhutan.
It has also taken the lead in creating power capacity in the region and has created 2100 MW of hydropower capacity in Bhutan. “More is being created,” Shringla said.
India is also constructing the 1320 MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project in Bangladesh.