Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Hasina have jointly inaugurated three power and connectivity projects. These projects include the Akhaura-Agartala Cross-Border Rail Link and the Khulna-Mongla Port Rail Line, both focused on enhancing connectivity, and the third project is Unit II of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant.
The power and connectivity projects are poised to elevate India-Bangladesh relations to new heights. Modi emphasized, “Our partnership with Bangladesh is a cornerstone of our ‘neighborhood first’ policy, and we are committed to further bolstering it.”
The Akhaura-Agartala cross-border rail link serves as a vital connection between India’s northeastern state of Tripura and Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. This strategic railway link significantly reduces travel time and distance between the two nations. It is the sixth rail link connecting India and Bangladesh, stretching over 12.24 km from Gangasagar to Nishchinthpur.
This project is poised to boost tourism in Northeastern India and Bangladesh, while also facilitating more efficient trade and fostering trade relations. Moreover, it will enhance people-to-people interactions and promote growth and development in the northeastern states. Furthermore, the rail link provides easier and faster access to Bangladesh’s crucial ports, such as Chittagong and Mongla, thereby contributing to India’s maritime connectivity and security in the Bay of Bengal.
The Khulna-Mongla port rail line serves as a vital connection, linking the southwestern region of Bangladesh with the Mongla port, the second-largest seaport in the country. This railway link directly enhances the capacity and efficiency of the port, subsequently contributing to increased economic development and improved connectivity in the region.
Additionally, Bangladesh has granted India the privileges of transit and transshipment facilities, allowing India to utilize the Mongla port for its trade with Nepal and Bhutan. This arrangement significantly benefits India’s trade by providing a more efficient and direct trade route.
Unit II of the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant is a 660 MW coal-fired power plant situated in Rampal, near the Sundarbans Forest. This project is a collaborative effort between India’s NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) and Bangladesh’s BPDB (Bangladesh Power Development Board), operating under the entity known as Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Private Limited. The power plant plays a pivotal role in bolstering Bangladesh’s energy security and diversification, effectively meeting the increasing demand for electricity in the country.
This joint project generates substantial revenue for both India and Bangladesh, thereby contributing to domestic and regional development through their cooperation. Moreover, it leads to the creation of increased employment opportunities, further enhancing the socio-economic prospects in the region.
The increased cooperation between India and Bangladesh through the energy and connectivity projects serves as a catalyst for greater collaboration and regional stability. India and Bangladesh, with their shared cultural and historic ties, are working towards a larger vision of enhancing comprehensive collaboration and cooperation in various fields. These include trade, tourism, investment, infrastructure development, water resources management, and regional maritime security cooperation.