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India hands over 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh

India-Bangladesh relationship is a role model for good neighbourly relationship in the South Asian region, said External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion of handing over 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh, he acknowledged the progress the neighbouring nation had made over the last several years.

And the Bangladesh representatives said Dhaka was eyeing the “bigger picture” that connected the South Asian region with East Asia.

Mr. Jaishankar said, “Our two countries continue to script ‘shonali adhyay’, guided by the progressive vision of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina. As your close friend and neighbour, we are indeed happy to witness the transformative growth in Bangladesh. We have seen impressive growth rates in the last few years and your achievements across all socio-economic indicators have set new benchmarks”.

The handing over of the locomotives under grant assistance was agreed upon during the October 2019 visit of Ms Hasina to India. The Indian Railways modified the coaches to suit the specifications of the Bangladesh Railways. The locomotives are expected to provide improved train operations within the Bangladesh Railways and strengthen interchange with the Indian Railways.

Speaking at the event, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also sounded a positive note, saying Bangladesh and India would remain trusted partners for “years and years and years to come”.

The event is a part of India’s plan to keep the infrastructure related initiatives on track despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, India operated the first trial container ship of Kolkata to Agartala and Karimganj via the Chittagong port carrying a large cargo of steel and pulses.

The Bangladesh side at the virtual event led by Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen and Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujon laid out Dhaka’s wider connectivity canvas.

Mr. Momen reminded that Bangladesh aspired to cater to the demands of its citizens through a network of trans-national rail and cargo corridors. He referred to several connectivity projects, including the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, saying: “As we stretch our eyes to capture the bigger picture on this vast canvas, we will pursue the path of shared prosperity through planned and sustainable development of our transport infrastructure - a network that would reach out to the farthest corners of the country, live up to the people’s expectations, and be able to cater to their needs”.

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