India, Bangladesh agree on extension of transit protocol

India and Bangladesh have agreed on the extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) with the provision of automatic renewal in line with the proposed amendment to the Bangladesh-India trade agreement during a Secretary-level talk between the two countries held here on April 20.

bd-indiaWith regard to development of entire protocol route under regional IDA assistance of World Bank, Bangladesh side while welcoming the proposal agreed to revert after obtaining approval of the concerned Authority of Bangladesh. It was also agreed between the two countries that a draft agreement for the regular movement of passenger and cruise vessels would be shared by India with Bangladesh through diplomatic channel.

The issue relating to inclusion of Pangaon container terminal (ICT) in Bangladesh as a Port of Call was discussed and Bangladesh side informed that the Pangaon (ICT) with two other ICT in Bangladesh may be used as a Port of Call by cargo vessel operator. Bangladesh side requested that Farraka and Bandel on National Waterway (NW) – 1 may be declared as Port of Call. Indian side, while agreeing on the reciprocity, mentioned that on Farraka it would revert after internal consultations. With regard to commencement of the Coastal Shipping, a draft agreement on coastal shipping was initialed by both the countries. It was also agreed to finalize the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in about two months time. On cooperation on Light House and marine training, India offered to extend training to the personnel in Bangladesh.

The Indian delegation was led by Shri Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, while the Bangladesh delegation was led by Mr. Shafiq Alam Mehdi, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh. Both the sides were confident that the deliberations would go a long way in the development of inland water transport and coastal shipping for enhancing connectivity and trade and commerce between the two countries.