India proposes to invest $11 bn in Bangla infrastructure projects

23 Feb 2017


India has proposed to invest over $11 billion in infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, including roads, railways, waterways, ports and energy.

Indian foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is due in Dhaka today to hand over a letter of invitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to meet her Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.

Jaishankar will meet with Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque to finalise the date and firm up the agenda to be discussed during her visit, which is expected in April.

Bangladesh is reported to be looking for an affirmation of commitment towards investments and lines of credit mostly in areas of infrastructure projects, WION quoted ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of Bangladesh Institute of International Strategic Studies as saying.

''Around $11 billion of investments from India in the power, LNG (liquefied natural gas) and port sectors in Bangladesh are in the pipeline. India has also been offered sites by Bangladesh for setting up Special Economic Zones exclusively for Indian companies to invest,'' Harsha Vardhan Shringla, High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh, said last week.

Meanwhile, reports quoting Bangladeshi officials said the much-anticipated visit by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India is likely to take place in April during which key issues like Teesta water sharing and Padma Bridge are also expected to be discussed.

Jaishankar will visit Dhaka on 23-24 February to discuss Hasina's visit and other related aspects, including agenda for talks between the visiting dignitary and the leadership here.

The water sharing of Teesta, which has a downstream towards Bangladesh remains unsolved mainly because of differences of opinion between the centre and West Bengal government.

''We are in a way stuck on India's centre-provincial relations. It's not easy to get out of that,'' said Ahmad.

There is likely to be reaffirmation on security cooperation between the two countries that already share ''extremely friendly cooperation on security matters and on issues of reducing threats of extremism, separatism and insurgency,'' he said.

Ahmad expressed concerns over the non-traditional security issues across the frontiers between India and Bangladesh that stretch over 4,000 kilometres. The trafficking of contraband, cattle and even human is causing serious implications through killing of unarmed Bangladeshi people by the Indian border security.

''There is a marked reduction in it but it has not stopped completely and therefore we would like to see more progress on this,'' WION quoted Ahmad as shared with WION.

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