World Bank report on ‘Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia’
The World Bank has recently published its report called “Connecting to thrive: Challenges and Opportunities of Transport Integration in Eastern South Asia”. As per the report, greater transport connectivity in between India and Bangladesh can increase the national income of both the nations.
Key findings of the report
The report highlights that the seamless bilateral connectivity between the countries have the potential to increase the national income of India by 8% and of Bangladesh by 17%. It further states that, Bangladesh’s exports to India can increase by 182% and India’s exports to Bangladesh can increase by 126% if they sign a free trade agreement. As per the report, if the transport connectivity is increased, it will lead to increase of Bangladesh’s export to India by 297% and India’s exports to Bangladesh by 172 %. The report notes that, presently, Indian trucks are not allowed to transit into Bangladesh because of which the transportation cost for goods into the north-eastern states of India increases.
Significance of the report
The report becomes significant in the context of inauguration of the “Maitri Setu” which is a bridge built across the Feni river on between Tripura (India) and Bangladesh. It is a 1.9 km long bridge which will allow Tripura to access port of Chittagong in Bangladesh.
What the report said about Bangladesh?
The report also said that, Bangladesh is a strategic gateway to India, Bhutan, Nepal, and other East Asia countries. As per the report, Bangladesh can become the economic powerhouse in the region by improving regional trade, transit and logistics network.
The World Bank officials stated that, if a transit facility is opened between India and Bangladesh, it will reduce the distance between Agartala and Kolkata to 450 km which currently takes 1600 km to connect.