The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dhaka seeks Delhi notification to allow Nepal, Bhutan transit through its territory

Dhaka has requested New Delhi to issue notification to allow Nepal and Bhutan transit through India, which would give the two countries access to the Mongla and Chittagong ports, reports UNB.

The request came when Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni held a discussion with Indian external affairs minister S M Krishna Monday in the sideline of the SAARC Council of Ministers' meeting at Thimphu, according to a foreign ministry press release issued on Tuesday

Moni also requested operationalisation of Rohanpur-Shinghabad rail link to provide access to Nepal, and for reestablishing rail links between Chilahati-Haldibari and Kulaura-Mahishashan.

The matter is expected to be looked into by the railway officials of the two countries soon.

During the discussion Krishna informed his Bangladesh counterpart that 300,000 tonnes of rice would soon be ready for export to Bangladesh.

Both the ministers discussed the entire gamut of bilateral and regional issues.

The Indian minister informed Dipu Moni that the rice price would be cheaper than that in the international market and that New Delhi was also ready to export 12,000 tonnes of sugar to Dhaka.

During the meeting, the Bangladesh foreign minister raised the issue of augmentation of the Ganges water during the dry season, and expressed interest in setting up joint venture projects to tap Bhutan's hydro-power.

"She also sought Delhi's support for the sale of 200 megawatt electricity, from Palatana power project in Tripura to Bangladesh," the release added.

Both the ministers discussed early operationalisation of the secretariat of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) in Dhaka.

At another meeting with Bhutanese economic affairs minister Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Dipu Moni discussed transit to Bhutan through India, hydropower generation, use of Mongla and Chittagong ports and the possibilities of Bhutan to use airports in Bangladesh.

The foreign minister informed that Bangladesh would be happy to welcome the king of Bhutan in Dhaka on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence.

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