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Monday, October 19, 2009

[mukto-mona] FW: Transit To Tripura : Is It Proper? --Asia Post , Dhaka, editorial, dated 19.10.09



Transit To Tripura : Is It Proper?  

Press has reported that Dhaka considers allowing New Delhi to use its territory to carry goods to the north-eastern state of Tripura as a ‘test case,’ giving a positive nod to India’s pending requests for transit, officials said.  Officials of the foreign affairs, shipping and communications ministries said they would want to seek how the decision would be implemented and how it could benefit both the neighbours. ‘We consider allowing India transit once as a test case and its result will decide the fate of other proposals floated earlier by New Delhi,’ said a senior official involved in the process.Officials said once the decision of giving transit to India once for heavy equipment through the Ashuganj Port was done successfully, Bangladesh would then move with other proposals for transit of various modes for the next-door neighbour. New Delhi in September agreed to provide Dhaka with connectivity to the land-locked Nepal and Bhutan in exchange for access to Bangladesh’s Ashuganj port. Dhaka, during a meeting between the foreign minister, Dipu Moni, and her Indian counterpart SM Krishna in New Delhi on September 8, agreed to allow India to use the Bangladesh territory to carry heavy equipment for a power plant at Palatan in Tripura through the Ashuganj port and use the Akhaura-Agartala Road.The two countries are scheduled to sign a deal on India’s access to the Ashuganj Port in May 2010. The issue of transit will come prominently when the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, will hold talks with her Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi later this year. As it did on other occasions, New Delhi will again ask Dhaka for connectivity to its north-eastern states through the Bangladesh territory.
   As the country has decided to get connected to the Asian highway network, Bangladesh will request India to divert the route of the Asian Highway through the Aushtagram border, instead of connection through Myanmar.The country has hardly any scope to directly enter Myanmar if and when Dhaka joins the Asian Highway Network in keeping with its already identified and primarily agreed routes connecting India from both sides of the Bangladesh territory.
   The three proposed Asian highway network routes are Benapole to Tamabil via Jessore, Dhaka, Kachpur and Sylhet; Banglabandha to Tamabil via Hatikumrul, Dhaka, Kachpur and Sylhet; and Mongla to Myanmar via Jessore, Hatikumrul, Dhaka, Kachpur, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf.New Delhi has for long been pressing for a transit route through the Bangladesh territory to carry goods from one part of India to another and has offered to invest in transport infrastructures in Bangladesh. Foreign policy experts, however, feel that allowing
India to build infrastructure in Bangladesh for transit might invite New Delhi’s unwarranted control over the transport system here and suggest the country should rather mobilize its own resources to invest in road, railway and port development.


We feel that one time transit is a peculiar idea and there is no justification for expenditure on infrastructure development for such a single transit.In fact what we should do is to to tackle the transit issue as a whole or s a package .This should include Indian transit or corridor from west to east of India through Bangladesh, Bangladesh transit to Nepal, Bhutan and China through India. The package should be looked into from need point of view and economic benefits of these two countries, not politically or emotionally.

We do not understand the reason why Bangladesh can not access Myanmar if the Asian highway goes through Myanmar, this is illogical. It is a bilateral issue and also a multi lateral issue. Myanmar can not refuse us using Asian highway, nor there is any enmity between Bangladesh and Myanmar to create any problem in this regard. Any problem can be sorted out.



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               -Beatrice Hall [pseudonym: S.G. Tallentyre], 190

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