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India is closest neighbour and Bangladesh’s friend forever: Tipu Munshi

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India is closest neighbour and Bangladesh's friend forever: Tipu MunshiGuwahati, Oct 22 (IANS) Bangladesh Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi has said India is not only its closest neighbour but also a friend for ever.

“Both India and Bangladesh have taken significant steps to take the relations to new heights in every sphere of engagement, like trade, commerce and connectivity,” Munshi said while addressing the two-day India-Bangladesh Stakeholders’ Meet, here on Tuesday.

Hailing Assam Chief Minister for holding the meet that reflected Sarbananda Sonowal’s keen interest in business development, the Bangladesh Commerce Minister said India was the second largest trading partner of Bangladesh after China.

“Trade between India and Bangladesh has grown in recent years and in the last 10 years, it has increased from $5 billion to $9 billion,” he said.

The Bangladesh Minister stressed the need to resolve all non-tariff issues, like testing products quality, removal of export restriction and logistic facility, to promote trade between both the countries. Unpredictable and non-transparent regulatory barriers were major hindrance in facilitation of trade and commerce, he said and urged pragmatic steps to settle them.

Proactive action would help in expanding the bilateral relationship, the Commerce Minister said and requested withdrawal of onion export ban, which India imposed recently owing to local issues. He said Bangladesh had shortage of 600,000 tonnes of onion as 80 per cent of its requirement came from India.

Stating that absence of seamless communication between Bangladesh and India, and other South East Asian countries, is a major issue, he stressed expeditious use of pacts, like port use and BBIN Motor vehicle. The meeting would give further impetus to Indo-Bangla ties, and trade and commerce between the two countries, he added.

Mashiur A.K.M. Rahman, Economic Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, called for focus on water management, railway and surface connectivity. He also spoke on the importance of border huts, tapping the hydro-power potential of the northeast of India for the benefit of Bangladesh and India. He underlined the importance of working together to make best use of possibilities and potentials of the region for faster economic growth.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said his state shared 80 per cent of its border areas with Bangladesh. Improved connectivity, trade and commerce between India and Bangladesh would boost development in the state, he added.

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