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India, B’desh look to doubling bilateral trade
Agartala, Nov 11 (IANS):
Published on 12 Nov. 2010 12:19 AM IST
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Leading industry chambers of India and Bangladesh have formed a task force to increase the trade between the two neighbours, officials said here Thursday.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) have recently constituted the 10-member task force, which would also study investment prospects in the two countries.
“The task force would submit its report, along with proposals, to the Prime Ministers of the two countries within the next six months,” CII principal advisor Sushanta Sen told reporters.
“The current value of Indo-Bangladesh trade is $3 billion. The scope of growth is much higher,” Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter said.
IBCCI expects that the figure can be doubled by next year if emphasis is given on improving infrastructure and easing regulatory hurdles.
“The Bangladesh government is seriously considering lifting the restrictions imposed on its companies to invest in northeast India. India has already lifted similar restrictions,” IBCCI’s President Abdul Matlub Ahmad said, adding that there was a “mental block” among legislators in Bangladesh about Indian investments.
“Bangladeshi industrialists are keen to set up steel, plastic, garments and food processing industries in northeast India,” Ahmad said.
Senior officials of Indian public sector firms were excited about the opportunities.
“Within the next one and half years, both the ONGC and NTPC power projects would start generating electricity,” senior officer of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Sudhindra Dube said.
Bangladesh Wednesday announced that it will allow South Asian nations, including India, to access its Chittagong and Mongla ports and is keen to revive connectivity in the region.
Earlier, access to these ports was denied to India and a few other countries due to security concerns raised by some opposition parties in Bangladesh.
We can’t forget Indians’ sacrifices for us: B’desh minister
Bangladesh cannot forget the sacrifices made by Indians to help it gain independence in 1971 and the two countries need to work together to resolve issues, visiting Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said in Tripura Thursday.
“The history and culture of both India and Bangladesh have been guiding us to go together, work together and solve all issues mutually,” said Moni, accompanied by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar after laying the foundation stone of the India-Bangladesh Maitri Uddan in south Tripura.
She arrived in Tripura Wednesday.
“We cannot forget India and its people who also sacrificed their lives and property for the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh,” Moni said amid applause from thousands of men, women and children.
Located near the international border, the India-Bangladesh Maitri Uddan is a park being built in southern Tripura’s Chottakhola as a tribute to Indian soldiers and Bangladeshi freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
“During the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, a training camp of the Mukti Bahini of freedom fighters was set up in the bordering village where the remains of bunkers, trenches and graveyards can still be found,” Tripura Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury said.
The Uddan is being developed by the Tripura government on a 20-hectare plot adjacent to the Trichna wildlife sanctuary and a 500-year-old mosque, bordering Bangladesh.
A museum exhibiting arms and ammunition, war materials, rare photographs and war literature would also be set up in the area, which has already turned into a memorial-cum-ecological conservation zone, about 130 km south of Agartala.
It would also have a statue of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was the architect of Bangladesh.
“The building of this memorial park was a long cherished demand of the people of Tripura as they were actively involved in the 1971 liberation war by providing all-out support to freedom fighters and sheltered around 1.6 million people, which was larger than the total population of Tripura,” Tripura Forest Minister Jitendra Chaudhury told IANS.
“The memorial would help future generations know the history of liberation of Bangladesh and of bonds of the people of two friendly neighbours and of how they helped each other for the independence.”
The commemorative park, which is to have a big tower from which parts of Noakhali and Feni districts of Bangladesh would be visible, would cost Rs.2.30 crore and would be funded by the state government.
“There were 11 war fronts in Tripura in 1971 and Chottakhola was one of them. A large number of freedom fighters were trained in Chottakhola, from which they later sneaked into Bangladesh to fight the Pakistani soldiers,” said Badal Choudhury, who did his primary education in what was then East Pakistan and is now Bangladesh.

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