Foreign Policy Watch: India-Bangladesh

Bangladesh offers Chittagong Port to India

Note4Students

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.

Conclusion

  • 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.

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