Bangladesh and India have made tremendous development in connectivity between the two countries but it has not been publicised to the extent it should have been, Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, has said.
In an online meeting with top Indian business executives in Bangladesh hosted by the High Commission of India on Monday, he said, "If connectivity takes place, economic activity grows. It is not the question of competing with each other; it is about being complementary to each other. It is more so in the case of India because of the historical relationship between the two countries."
"Bangladesh and India do not only share brotherly or friendly relations enjoyed by other countries. It is much deeper, especially because of the role India played in the creation of Bangladesh," he said.
Hosted by the outgoing Indian high commissioner, Riva Ganguly Das, the event was attended by more than a dozen top executives from Indian brands.
Sirajul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), also spoke as a special guest.
Indian business executives suggested to open up Narayanganj port for receiving goods from India's Paradip and Halda, which they said would save time and cost and reduce pressure on the Chattogram port.
Salman praised the idea and promised to discuss the issues with the respective authorities.
He also suggested India to improve its railway infrastructure so that train can be used to ferry goods between the two countries.
Riva raised a number of issues on behalf of Indian businessmen and business executives, including non-tariff barriers in trade between the two countries, customs complications, CC limits on two-wheelers and three-wheelers imported from India, long-term business visa for Indian citizens, etc.
Individually, Indian executives also raised some issues, including some banks not respecting or procrastinating on letters of credit.
Salman assured the Indian envoy and business executives to take up these issues with the respective government agencies and ministries.
In response to one businessman's complaint that he faces difficulties in remitting his dividends to his parent company back in India, Salman acknowledged that there can be some sporadic cases.
"But Bangladesh has implemented necessary liberalisation needed at this stage," he added.
Since currencies of the two countries are not convertible, some complications are still there, he conceded.
"In the early years, we did not have a large foreign currency reserve, which would complicate this. But since the prime minister took over, our foreign reserve has grown to become very large. We are now very comfortable allowing foreign businesses to seamlessly remit their dividends to their parent companies."
Sirajul said his agency was working to ensure a seamless experience for Indian investors and businessmen.
Salman also urged Indian businessmen to become Bangladesh's goodwill ambassadors and share their experience in Bangladesh with fellow businessmen and publicise the level of connectivity the two country offers.