The economic prosperity of India and Bangladesh could be improved by developing border infrastructure and removing basic trade barriers, top politicians and experts said at a seminar here on Sunday.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who inaugurated the seminar, said the under-construction bridge over river Feni in southern Tripura would make easier the transportation of goods between the northeastern states and the rest of the world via the Chittagong sea port in Bangladesh.
The Haldia port near Kolkata is 1,220 km from Assam while the Chittagong international port is less than 70 km from Sabroom in Tripura, he said.
The Chief Minister promised that the bridge would be operational by December next year and accessing Chittagong port would become much easier.
The Agartala Press Club organised the seminar on "Strengthening Indo-Bangladesh relationship" and many experts and politicians from both the countries took part in the event.
"For the development of Tripura and other northeastern states, many construction materials can be imported from Bangladesh or can be transported via that country. The Bangladesh government will also earn huge revenue from these transportation businesses," the Chief Minister said.
Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank (its central bank) Atiur Rahman said the two countries in recent years had resolved decades old issues including exchange of 162 enclaves (Chhitmahals) and maritime boundaries.
"The friendly ties of the two neighbours and each other's economic prosperity could be further improved by developing border infrastructure and removing remaining barriers.
"However, India and Bangladesh are still facing three major challenges - political, infrastructural and regulatory. Bureaucracy is the main obstacle in making investment and speedy growth of trades," he said.
Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin urged the media for objective reporting on the issues relating to India and Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Media Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said she was keen to develop deeper ties with India and its northeast that sheltered over one crore people who fled Bangladesh during the 1971 liberation war.
"Bangladesh's increasing bilateral ties with India will continue to boost the economy of both the countries. The two neighbours are working in various sectors for mutual benefits. However, the visa norms should be further simplified."The Agartala Press Club Secretary Pranab Sarkar and editor Subal Kumar Dey stressed on the need for more such interactions and sharing of views to eliminate the misconception over some issues.