India Supplying 1,160 MW Power To B’desh, 1,500 MW More In Pipeline: Jaishankar
Guwahati: External Minister Dr S. Jaishankar on Saturday said that India has been supplying 1,160 MW of electricity to Bangladesh and 1,500 MW more is already in the pipeline.
Addressing the “NADI (River) Conclave 2022” here, he also said that India is collaborating on a series of road projects in Bangladesh, including improving the Ashuganj River Port-Akhaura Land Port Road under an LoC of more than $400 million.
“The road project connecting Baruerhat to Ramgarh on the India-Bangladesh border, which will increase Tripura’s road connectivity with Bangladesh, is also being implemented under another LoC of $80.06 million,” he said.
The Minister said that overland movement of goods is taking place using 28 notified Land Customs Stations (LCSs) and three Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) along the border.
He also noted that the “Maitree Bridge” over the Feni, connecting Sabroom in Tripura, to Ramgarh in Bangladesh, was opened by both the Prime Ministers in March 2021 and negotiations are also underway to operationalise the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement to ensure seamless vehicular movement.
With the success of four “Border Haats” – two each in Meghalaya and Tripura, nine new haats (markets) are being set up – three in Meghalaya, four in Tripura and two in Assam.
Jaishankar also said that cross-border power transmission lines and digital connectivity infrastructure offer additional dimensions of connectivity, adding that the international gateway between Agartala and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is helping to provide faster internet access and broadband services in Tripura.
“We will be reviewing all these developments and more at the Joint Consultative Commission Meeting with my Bangladesh counterpart in mid-June,” he said.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen and Assam Chief Ministr Himanta Biswa Sarma also attended the “NADI Convlave-2022” organised by Shillong-based think tank ‘Asian Confluence’.
Jaishankar said that the emerging collaborative regional economy includes Nepal and Bhutan as well. A six-lane bridge across the river Mechi connects Panitanki in West Bengal to Kakarbhitta in Nepal, facilitating the passage of the Asian Highway-02 from India to Nepal. A road connecting Sikkim to eastern Nepal via the Chiwa Bhanjyang border is also under construction as part of India’s Border Area Development Programme.
With its completion, Sikkim will have access to Nepal’s East-West Highway, with a boost to trade and tourism in both countries. The game changing potential is evident, he pointed out.
The External Affairs Minister said that hydropower too offers great scope for cooperation, and this is relevant even more in an era of climate action. There is an established tradition in this regard between Bhutan and India and a rapidly emerging one now between Nepal and India.
He also said that with the launching of RuPay cards, Nepal is getting integrated with the Indian fintech and payment systems. Prime Minister’s visit to Lumbini this month was the most recent occasion to take our cooperation with Nepal forward, he added.
Noting that the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project is the most significant of those that India has undertaken in Myanmar, Jaishankar said that it is also one of the hardest, both because of topography and because of insurgency.
“The project includes a waterway component of 158 km on the river Kaladan, from Sittwe to Paletwa, and a road component of 109 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui, on the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram. Efforts are underway to make Sittwe Port operational at the earliest. But let me be frank about where we are. We have genuinely struggled with this very complex enterprise but are more determined than ever to spare no effort in getting it done,” he added.