‘Gateway To Northeast India’: Maitri Setu, A Crucial India-Bangladesh Trade Corridor
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‘Gateway To Northeast India’: Maitri Setu, A Crucial India-Bangladesh Trade Corridor

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The Maitri Setu has been built over the Feni river, which flows between the Indian boundary in Tripura and Bangladesh

Seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by as much as 1l7 per cent in Bangladesh and 8 per cent in India, the World Bank said in a report titled ‘Connecting to Thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia’.

Regional trade is below its potential in South Asia, but leaders of India and Bangladesh are building upon strong bilateral ties for economic growth and prosperity. Maitri Setu, or Friendship Bridge, built over the Feni River is a crucial corridor that will facilitate this.

On March 9, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina virtually inaugurated the 1.9-km bridge, which connects the Indian state of Tripura with Bangladesh. The bridge, built over the Feni River that flows between Tripura and Bangladesh, connects Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh.

The World Bank said that if both the countries sign a Free Trade Agreement, then India’s exports to Bangladesh can shoot up by 126 per cent and improve the latter’s exports by a whopping 182 per cent.

During an online event for the inauguration of the bridge, Hasina recalled India’s role in Bangladesh’s Liberation War. “”Fifty years ago, in 1971, India opened up its border for Bangladesh’s people to support their freedom struggle. Today, we are building a prosperous region together,” she said.

“The Feni Bridge would improve the connectivity to south Assam, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura with Bangladesh and south-east Asia,” Modi said, adding that the bridge would give an impetus to the economic opportunities in Bangladesh as well.

Seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by as much as 1l7 per cent in Bangladesh and 8 per cent in India, the World Bank said in a report titled ‘Connecting to Thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia’.

The global lending institution said that if both the countries sign a Free Trade Agreement, then India’s exports to Bangladesh can shoot up by 126 per cent and improve the latter’s exports by a whopping 182 per cent.

Today, bilateral trade accounts for only about 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s overall trade and a mere 1 per cent of India’s trade.

Modi said the bridge will give an impetus to the economic opportunity in Bangladesh, besides the north-eastern region, and thanked Dhaka for the cooperation in the completion of the project.

Modi said the connectivity is not only strengthening the friendship between India and Bangladesh but also proving to be a strong link of business.

He thanked the Bangladesh government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the cooperation in the completion of the bridge project.

“The bridge is poised to herald a new chapter for trade and people to people movement between India and Bangladesh. With this inauguration, Tripura is set to become the ‘Gateway of North East’ with access to Chittagong Port of Bangladesh, which is just 80 km from Sabroom,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in the statement.

According to the World Bank’s India head Junaid Ahmad, “With the eastern sub-region poised to become an ‘economic growth pole’ for South Asia, it is important for countries to invest in connectivity to achieve this potential.””

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