Top officials from the commerce, road transport and shipping and external affairs ministries from New Delhi are likely to attend the meeting.
Guwahati: In order to accelerate the trade relationship, the Assam government has embarked upon an ambitious plan by asking the external affairs ministry and the Niti Aayog to reopen pre-Partition railway links from Chittagong to Makum, Cox’s Bazar to Ledo and a third line to Bangladesh via Golakganj till Moirabari.
Saying the Assam government will host a two-day stakeholders’ meeting between India and Bangla-desh from October 22 to push its agenda of placing Assam at the centre of India’s trade expansion with Asean and other blocs, Assam industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said: “While work for the Agartala-Akhaura Railway Link (Bangladesh) has started, we have discussed with MEA and Niti Aayog resto-ration of three railway links from Assam to Bangladesh.”
He said the Bangladesh delegation with over 90 members would be led by Tipu Munshi, the country’s commerce minister, and include 70 officials from Bangladesh. Top officials from the commerce, road transport and shipping and external affairs ministries from New Delhi are likely to attend the meeting. He pointed out that India’s domestic production was almost surplus and the Southeast Asian countries, with their 80 million population, was a ready market.
In India’s attempt to connect with these markets, Assam and the Northeast has an advantageous position by virtue of its geographical location, and Assam is going all out to capitalise this opportunity, said Mr Patowary.
The minister reiterated connectivity was the primary requisite for Assam and the Northeast to reap the benefits of its geographical advantage, and hence the focus of the stakeholders’ meet would be on boosting connectivity through road, rail, air, water and information links with Bangladesh.
“The Northeast region has 4,800-km international boundaries, against the 1,400-km boundary it shares with the rest of India through the Siliguri corridor. Our aim is to capitalise on its proximity with foreign nations,” said Mr Patowary.