India to get access to landlocked N-E states through Bangladesh

Underlining that the country had been isolated for too long, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni today said giving transit facilities (to India) would bring economic benefit for Bangladesh.
She said Bangladesh wants to transform the country into a regional hub so that the entire region is well-connected.

"When we are thinking about transforming Bangladesh as a regional hub and when the entire region will be brought under the connectivity, India will have access to its northeastern states," she said, adding "unfettered movement of people and goods will be taking place."

Relations between the South Asian neighbours were chilly between 2001-2006 when the Islamist-allied BNP was in power in Bangladesh and New Delhi regularly accused Dhaka of harbouring anti-India insurgents and fostering militancy.

The bilateral ties, however, have been on the upswing since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power after the landmark general election in 2008.In the largest-ever loan India has given to any foreign country, New Delhi yesterday signed an agreement with Bangladesh to extend a USD 1 billion credit line to Dhaka for developing 14 infrastructure projects, mostly in the communications sector.

The loan agreement was signed between the Exim Bank of India and the Economic Relations Department of Bangladesh in the presence of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Amid protests by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) over the massive loan, Moni described it as a "win-win situation". She said it has been taken to fulfill Bangladesh’s interests.

However, she underlined that India will also get benefits from the deal.
"If connectivity is in place, all will get the benefit," she said, adding "it will be a win-win situation".

"One must get out of the negative thinking that India will benefit if roads and ports are developed,” Moni was quoted as saying by The Star online today.The Foreign Minister said if rail communications are improved, Bangladesh will get the benefit and in some areas while India will also get benefits

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