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Bay of Bengal connect: Bangladesh launches road links with India

Although road connectivity between Bangladesh and India already exists, it is not direct — passengers have to change buses at the border. But under the new initiative, passengers will not have to change buses. The decision came after a meeting recently held by the Thematic Group on Regional Connectivity at the Road Transport and Highways Division of the Bangladesh government.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2020, 11.46 AM IST
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“We are also planning to start the Dhaka-Siliguri-Gangtok (Sikkim)-Dhaka and Dhaka-Siliguri-Darjeeling-Dhaka trial bus routes though it is yet in its initial stage,” a Bangladesh government official told ET over the phone from Dhaka.
NEW DELHI: Bangladesh, notwithstanding the recent controversy over the citizenship law and national citizenship register, has decided to launch direct road connectivity with popular tourist spots Siliguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal from Thursday, as part of the Bay of Bengal regional connectivity initiative.

The move will further enhance regional connectivity network boosting India’s Indo-Pacific vision.

The decision came after a meeting recently held by the Thematic Group on Regional Connectivity at the Road Transport and Highways Division of the Bangladesh government.

This meeting underscored Dhaka’s interest in opening a direct road network between Bangladesh and India as soon as possible, because the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) has been delayed due to Bhutan’s temporary withdrawal from the BBIN-MVA.

“We are also planning to start the Dhaka-Siliguri-Gangtok (Sikkim)-Dhaka and Dhaka-Siliguri-Darjeeling-Dhaka trial bus routes though it is yet in its initial stage,” a Bangladesh government official told ET over the phone from Dhaka.

Although road connectivity between Bangladesh and India already exists, it is not direct — passengers have to change buses at the border. But under the new initiative, passengers will not have to change buses, the official said.

The BBIN countries signed the Motor Vehicle Agreement for free movement of goods and passengers among the four countries on June 15, 2015.

Under the agreement, the contracting parties will allow trucks and trailers with containers, and passenger vehicles — hired or personal — to ply in the territory of other contracting parties.

During the Non-Aligned Movement Summit last year in the Azerbaijan city of Baku, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina spoke with her Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli where they decided to carry on with an open road network project without Bhutan.

Meanwhile, during her recent visit to New Delhi, Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi discussed working towards a bilateral India-Bangladesh Motor Vehicles Agreement

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