Foreign Policy Watch: India-Bangladesh

[pib] New ports and routes added under the Protocol on Inland Water Transit between India and Bangladesh


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Protocol on Inland Water Transit

Mains level : India's north-east connectivity through Bangladesh

India and Bangladesh have opened a new chapter in regional connectivity by expanding the scope of inland water transport mechanism that would enable to boost trade in the region.

Note all the ports mentioned in the newscard and the image. Also, keep a tab on river systems of North east India.

What is the news?

  • The Standing Committee on the Protocol and the Shipping Secretary level Talks are the institutional arrangements to discuss and make the Protocol more effective.
  • During the latest discussions key decisions were taken on the extension of protocol routes, the inclusion of new routes and declaration of new Ports of Call to facilitate trade between the two countries.

New routes

The number of Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes is being increased from 8 to 10 and new locations are also added to the existing routes: –

1) Inclusion of Sonamura- Daudkhandi stretch of Gumti river (93 Km) as IBP route:

  • It will improve the connectivity of Tripura and adjoining States with Indian and Bangladesh`s economic centres and will help the hinterland of both the countries.

2) Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi Routes and its extension up to Aricha (270 km)

  • It will help the augmentation of infrastructure in Bangladesh as it would reduce the transportation cost of stone chips/aggregate to northern part of Bangladesh through this route. It will also decongest the Land Custom Stations on both sides.

Ports of Call

  • Port of call means an intermediate stop for a ship on its scheduled journey for cargo operation or taking on supplies or fuel.
  • The following are existing Ports of Call in the two countries on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route:
India Kolkata Haldia Pandu Karimganj Silghat Dhubri
Bangladesh Narayanganj Khulna Mongla Sirajganj Ashuganj Pangaon
  • Newly added: Two more extended Ports of Call have been added
  • Inclusion of Jogigopha in India and Bahadurabad in Bangladesh as new Port of Call will provide connectivity to Meghalaya, Assam and Bhutan.

About the Protocol on Inland Water Transit

  • Bangladesh and India have a long-standing and time-tested Protocol on Transit and Trade through inland waterways of both countries.
  • This Protocol, which was first signed in 1972 (immediately after independence of Bangladesh), is a reflection of shared history and friendship between the two countries.
  • It was last renewed in 2015 for five years with a provision for its automatic renewal for a further period of five years giving long term assurance to various stakeholders.

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