From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Chittagong Port
Mains level : India-Bangladesh connectivity
In a major development in India-Bangladesh ties, India has now gained access to the crucial Chittagong Port after it was offered by Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina.
About Chittagong Port
- The Chittagong/Chattogram Port is the main seaport of Bangladesh.
- It is located in the port city of Chittagong and on the banks of the Karnaphuli River,
- The port handles eighty percent of Bangladesh’s export-import trade, and has been used by India, Nepal and Bhutan for transshipment.
- According to Lloyd’s, it ranked as the 58th busiest container port in the world in 2019. The port is one of the oldest in the world.
- Chittagong Port is now being developed and modernized with Chinese investment and help.
- It was widely believed that China will retain the right to use this port according to its plans and needs.
Significance of the port
- The use of Chattogram port was made possible under an agreement that allows the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports as transhipment hubs.
- The port is significance for north-eastern states for enhancing connectivity between the neighboring countries.
- This will reduce the distance, time and cost of logistics for transporting goods.
- Currently, the road route between West Bengal to the northeast covers a distance of over 1,200 km.
Some of the benefits India hopes from this new and shorter route are:
- An additional connectivity route that’s economical and environment-friendly
- States like Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya to get access to a port for transportation of goods
- Lend a fillip to multi-modal connectivity between India and Bangladesh
- Ease stress on supply chains that have been disrupted by the pandemic
- Important bridge for India to reach Southeast Asia, East Asia and beyond
Benefits for Bangladesh
- Fresh investment flow in the logistics sector
- New trade routes are expected to generate employment and give a fillip to transport, finance and insurance.
- Generate revenue by way of administrative and port-related fees
- Lead to economic transformation of cities such as Cumilla, Tamabil and Akhaura as well.
- India has settled the four-decade-old land boundary issue and also showing positive attitude towards Teesta water sharing issue.
- At this moment, it is normal that Bangladesh would show some liberality towards use of ports.