India hands over 20 new Buses to Bangladesh

Dhaka: Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has handed over the keys of 20 buses to Bangladesh.  India will hand over another batch of 30 buses along with 88 air-conditioned coaches by April this year.

This forms part of $1 billion line of credit to Bangladesh, the largest single line of credit extended by India to any country, the external affairs ministry said.

India has already delivered 290 double decker buses under the project to the Bangladesh Road Transport Corp (BRTC).

The ministry said these buses were plying in Dhaka, Chittagong and Bogra.

About 15 projects amounting to nearly $785 million are being finalized with Bangladesh, mainly for development of the country’s infrastructure in the transport sector.

On Saturday, Khurshid and his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni exchanged the strip maps of the demarcated areas and discussed a wide spectrum of issues at the second meeting of the Indo-Bangla Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) in Dhaka.

The symbolic exchange of strip maps was carried out in accordance with the Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 relating to adverse possessions and undemarcated stretches.

The two sides Saturday also took another significant step in boosting their ties when they signed a MoU on the Agartala-Akhaura rail link.

The proposed new rail link with Tripura would be the second between the two countries. West Bengal is now connected at present with Bangladesh by rail.

The JCC also reviewed the progress of cooperation in business and trade, connectivity, power, water resources, security, border management, infrastructure, people to people contacts, culture, environment and education.

The two sides, after the JCC meeting, signed three bilateral documents. Besides the MoU on construction of Akhaura-Agartala rail link, they signed an MoU on setting up of a think-tank, Bangladesh-India Foundation.

Khurshid’s visit comes ahead of the visit in early March of President Pranab Mukherjee. The Bangladesh government is to honour Mukherjee for his support during the 1971 Liberation War.

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, during his visit to Dhaka Feb 10-11, promised that all pending issues, including the Teesta water sharing agreement, would be concluded “as early as feasible”.