Bangladesh would welcome Indian investment in developing Chittagong port as well as a deep-sea port at Sonadia Island in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Mani said today. At present, China is the leading bidder for the two projects.
Addressing the media in Agartala after laying the foundation stone of a Bangladesh War memorial in Tripura's capital, she said, "Why only China, we want all our neighbours to take part in developing Chittagong port and Sonadia Island. And that includes India too. We also want other countries like Nepal and Bhutan to use our ports."
Chittagong port is strategic due to its location close to Myanmar and India. Sonadia Island is about seven km off Cox Bazaar. During her visit to Beijing in March last year, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had approached China to invest in her country.
China readily agreed and revived the old plans for Kunming to Chittagong via the Myanmar tri-nation highway, and also mooted the idea of developing the two ports. Recently, Myanmar also gave a green signal to China for construction of the road.
"The proposals for Kunming-Myanmar-Chittagong road and ports development by China are there but no final decision in this regard has yet been taken. But we are positive in our approach," Mani said. "It would be good if Indian support also comes for these ports."
The war memorial at Chottakhola in South Tripura is significant as Mukti Yuddhas (freedom fighters) used to sneak into East Pakistan for guerrilla warfare from here in 1971, the year of the India-Pakistan war for the liberation of Bangladesh.