Bolstering ties with Bangladesh, India on Monday hand over 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh.

The locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by the external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar and the minister of railways and commerce & industry Piyush Goyal from New Delhi.

Officials said the handing over of these locomotives, under grant assistance from the Government of India, fulfills an important commitment made during the visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to India in October, 2019.

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“In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh,” officials said.

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said, “I am delighted to join this ceremony of handing over 10 locomotives to Bangladesh.”

“I am glad to know that parcel and container trains have been started between both the countries,” he added.

“This will open up new opportunities for our businesses. I am happy to note that movement of trade by rail has been ensured. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of essentials, particularly in the holy month of Ramadan were ensured,” he also said.

He further highlighted the depth of time tested India-Bangladesh ties, based on mutual trust and respect.

He expressed his happiness that the COVID-19 pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation.

Speaking on the occasion, Piyush Goyal said, “It gives me immense pleasure to hand over 10 broad gauge locomotives for the use of Bangladesh Railways.”

“These locomotives will be useful in handling the on-going freight train operations between India & Bangladesh,” he added.

“To ensure the usability of these locos in Bangladesh, they have been modified. We have been huge strides forward in our respective efforts at achieving development & growth. India & Bangladesh have come a long way in the last few years,” he also said.

India and Bangladesh, of late, have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land border faced disruptions.

Rail as a cost effective and environmental friendly solution, has helped in transporting essential commodities across the border.

Both sides saw the highest ever exchange of freight trains in the month of June.

A total of 103 freight trains were utilized for carrying essential commodities and raw materials.

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