Bangladesh and India have reopened the 55-year old Chilahati-Haldibari rail link with an aim to enhance transport and connectivity between the two nations.
The inauguration of the rail link took place during the Virtual Summit of the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh today (Thursday).
The rail link was cut off during the 1965 war.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Bangladesh in March this year but due to the sudden onset of Covid-19, the visit had to be postponed.
Thursday's Virtual Summit between Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina and his counterpart Indian PM Modi comes a day after both the nations celebrate victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.
The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the Broad Gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri.
However, the war of 1965 effectively cut off all the railway links between the two countries.
To revive the ease of access on both sides, the rail links are being restored, enhancing connectivity and people-to-people ties on both sides.
With the inauguration of the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link, five out of six rail links are currently operational.
The other four operational rail links between India and Bangladesh connecting West Bengal with Bangladesh are Petrapole (India) - Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh), and Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh).
Haldibari-Chilahati route will enhance connectivity to Assam and West Bengal from Bangladesh.
This link will enhance rail network accessibility and give a boost to bilateral trade and economic development of the region.
Currently, the rail link will facilitate the movement of goods cargo. Passenger movement will also commence as soon as the necessary infrastructure on both sides is in place.
Earlier in July this year, India had handed over 10 Broad Gauge locomotives to Bangladesh in a virtual ceremony in presence of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.
From the Bangladesh end, Minister of Railway Md. Nurul Islam Sujan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abul Kalam Abdul Momen received the locomotives.