The trade between India and Bangladesh will improve with the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade. Besides, it will also promote better connectivity with other neighbouring countries, said Union Minister of State for Ports and Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday. In his message to Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry during shipping and logistics conclave, the union minister said that the protocol route is being operationalized. Goods movement between the north east and the neighbouring country, Bhutan using Chittagong port through National Waterways-2 has been tested. According to a PTI report, the Indo-Bangladesh protocol route will use NW-1 as well as NW-2 on the Indian side.
According to the Union Minister of State for Ports and Shipping, this waterway will connect land locked countries such as Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar to smoothen trade in the coming days. In Myanmar, Sittwe Port has been developed for greater connectivity for goods as well as cargo movement, Mandaviya further added. Meanwhile, Chairperson of Inland Waterways of India, Amita Prasad wondered why huge trucks ply for Indian Oil along with other refiners for transporting cargo between Haldia and the city of Kolkata and not use waterways, the report said.
Last year, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways had said that the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Republic of India have a long standing as well as time-tested Protocol on Transit and Trade through Inland Waterways of both nations. According to the ministry, this Protocol, which was first signed in the year 1972 (immediately after the independence of Bangladesh), is a reflection of friendship and shared history between the two nations. It was last renewed in the year 2015 for a period of five years with a provision for its automatic renewal for a further duration of five years providing long term assurance to various stakeholders, earlier the ministry had said.