US diplomats bat for more connectivity initiatives in BBIN region

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Agartala, December 15
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marica Bernicat proposed to build better road, railways and waterways connectivity in Bangladesh Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) for development of better trade relation in South-East Asian countries.
Talking to UNI in the sidelines of a conference on Indo-Asia connectivity for shared prosperity today Ms Bernicat said the Bangladesh government had undertaken major projects like deep sea port and development of Chittagong sea port, which will certainly help resolving connectivity problems northeastern states of India.
She attributed with the development of maritime connectivity with Bangladesh, the BBIN region would be benefited as due to difficult terrain road connectivity only cannot solve the problem and ultimately affects trade relation among the South-East Asian countries.
Ms Bernicat, however, observed to have a serious thought to devise a strategy to balance trade deficit of neghibouring countries, including India and US with Bangladesh. She said garment industry of Bangladesh has a huge potential to cater BBIN and sometime ago US was the biggest consumer of Bangladeshi garments.
Supplementing her, US ambassador to India Richard Verma said nowhere are the challenges and potential for connectivity more real than in northeast India, a region that is home to 45 million people and more than 200 tribes, and, more importantly, one of Asia’s most strategic crossroads; bordering Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar and Nepal.
“The northeast is a region unlike any other in this diverse country with its stunning beauty, industrious population, and remarkable blend of culture, language and tradition. And while the connectivity challenges are real, there are also important success stories and examples of what expanded connectivity can look like,” he said.
He appreciated the decision of the Central government for exporting 100 MW power to Bangladesh from Palatana project, one of the largest clean development mechanism project runs by US manufactured turbine.
As part of energy cooperation among South East Asian countries, Tripura has capacity to export another 100 MW to it’s neighbor.
With its stunning mountains and jungle topography, much of the Northeast presents real challenges in the building of traditional infrastructure; Verma observed adding that simply moving from one state to another is a biggest challenge for the region.
He further stated while air connectivity has improved dramatically, many travelers must use Kolkata or Guwahati as hubs due to limited inter-state flights.
With multiple states, countries and sometimes contradictory rules for the movement of goods and people, the regulatory and legal framework can also pose a burden.

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