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'Cordial ties with Bangladesh important for India'

Friday July 22, 2011 08:16:58 PM, IANS

Shillong: As India and Bangladesh reopen a border haat (market) in Meghalaya Saturday, state Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that maintaining cordial bilateral ties with the neighbouring country is very important for India.

"It is very important for us (India) to maintain bilateral ties with Bangladesh and one of the means to maintain this good relation is through trade and commerce," Sangma said here Friday.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and his Bangladesh counterpart Faruk Khan will inaugurate the border haat at Kalaichar in Meghalaya's West Garo Hills district and Baliamari of Bangladesh's Kurigram district.

Stressing on the inter-dependence between the two neighbouring countries, Sangma said the opening of border haats would go a long way to achieve this objective. "Through trade and commerce, people to people, relationships would be built leading to better relations between India-Bangladesh," Sangma told IANS.

These border haats stopped after the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. Border markets are popular among people on both sides of the border living in remote enclaves and hilly areas as they find it difficult to buy and sell products needed in everyday life.

To boost bilateral trade, Sangma said the government is planning to tap the Chittagong port for trade and commerce with Bangladesh in consultation with the union government.

"The Chittagong port will help the region (North Eastern States) to bridge the infrastructural bottle neck that is in existence can be addressed," Sangma said.

The strategic Chittagong Port located in southeastern part of Bangladesh could help India's northeastern states and boost its economy. The Indian government has decided to construct a bridge over Feni river in south Tripura to get access to the port.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had agreed to have land, air and waterways connectivity and especially to allow India to use the Chittagong Port to transport goods to our landlocked region (northeastern states).








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