With an aim to give bilateral trade and investment a fillip, both India and Bangladesh are exploring possibilities and avenues to upgrade infrastructure at border trading points and also expand ‘border haats’ (markets).
An Union Commerce Ministry statement on Monday read, “The two sides (India and Bangladesh) held extensive and productive discussions on February 7 and 8 at commerce secretary-level including development and up-gradation of infrastructure at border trading points, further expansion of the border haats of the two countries, identification and resolution of non-tariff issues affecting bilateral trade, regional connectivity under Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) and ease of investment.”
Notably, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during a meeting with the Chief Ministers of the Indo-Bangladesh border states in December last year, had said India always share a friendly relation with its neighbours, particularly Bangladesh, and coordinated efforts will be taken to help trade and legitimate cross-border movement of people.
India shared an extensive international border of 4096 km with Bangladesh – covering five states of India including Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal.
The Union Commerce Ministry statement while emphasizing on border haats as the most viable medium for bilateral trade with Bangladesh also laid stress on increasing the number such border trade points.
Presently, four border haats are operational along India-Bangladesh border – two in Meghalaya, at Kalaichar and Balat, and two are operational in Tripura, at Srinagar and Kamalasagar.
Apart from these four border haats operating at present, both the countries have agreed to set up six more such border haats — two in Tripura and four in Meghalaya, the Commerce Ministry statement further said.
Bilateral cooperation between the two neighbouring countries is also in the pipeline to promote export and capacity building on trade related matters.