Neighbourhood First Policy: India hands over 10 Railway Locomotives to Bangladesh

On July 27, 2020, India handed over 10 Railway Locomotives to bolster its Neighbourhood First Policy. India had committed to Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India to provide broad gauge diesel locomotives to the country.

Highlights

The handing over event was conducted virtually and was attended by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jai Shankar, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and their Bangladeshi counter parts.

First Cross Border Train

It is to be noted that the first container train from India reached Bangladesh very recently. The train carried FMCG (Fast Moving consumer Goods) products. The FMCG products are consumer goods such as soap, detergents, shampoos, and other essential products used in day to day life.

The First container trainer carried around 50 containers. The container service is to operate regularly from now on. The service links Majerhat near Kolkata with Benapole, Singia, Jessore, Noapara and Bangabandhu Setu West in Bangladesh.

Already there are two passenger trains running between India and Bangladesh. They are Bandhan Express connecting Kolkata and Khulna and Maitree Express connecting Kolkata and Dhaka.

Background

India and Bangladesh have close trade ties. However, the trade was greatly affected due to COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, it is essential to strengthen cross border transport infrastructures

Also, China has been determined to reach out to India’s periphery to draw them into its influence. In Bangladesh, China sealed in 2016 that was worth of 20 billion USD eclipsing India’s Line of Credit of 8 billion USD since 2011.

In Sri Lanka, China offered concessional loan of 500 million USD to overcome its economic issues.

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