India has handed over 10 broad gauge diesel locomotives to Bangladesh – as part of its grant assistance that the country promised to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in October 2019.
In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help to handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.
The foreign ministers of Bangladesh and India have emphasised the importance of bilateral relations between their countries – based on mutual trust and respect.
Both ministers addressed a virtual handing-over ceremony of the locomotives on Monday.
Locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by Dr S Jaishankar, the external affairs minister of India, and Shri Piyush Goyal, the minister of railways as well as minister of commerce and industry.
Minister of State for Railways Shri Suresh Angadi attended the event from the Indian end. Minister of Railways Md Nurul Islam Sujan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr AKM Abdul Momen received the locomotives on behalf of the government of Bangladesh.
The secretary of the railways ministry of Bangladesh, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das also joined in the event.
After the meeting, the locomotives entered Darshana Rail Station of Bangladesh through the GEDE border of India at 4.05pm Monday.
During the handover ceremony, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar highlighted the depth of time-tested India-Bangladesh ties, based on mutual trust and respect.
He expressed his happiness that the Covid-19 pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation and conveyed that he looked forward to more such milestones in the ongoing historic Mujib Year.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said, "Over the last few years, India and Bangladesh have scripted a golden chapter in partnership under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi."
Dr Momen thanked India for offering Bangladesh 10 broad gauge diesel locomotives as a mark of their enduring friendship.
"This would help bring our two peoples even closer," added the foreign minister.
Dr Momen also mentioned that this week, for the first time, 50 containers loaded with FMCG cargo and fabric arrived in Bangladesh from India through the Benapole-Petrapole rail link.
In the last week, the first transshipment of goods (iron and pulses) from Kolkata to India's North-East took place through Chattogram port in Bangladesh.
Dr Momen also said that the India-Bangladesh relationship was rock solid and was based on shared values, principles and confidence; touching almost every sphere of life, including: politics, culture, trade, investment, water, energy, power, transportation, logistics, security, and much more.
"I am sure we will be able to further lift our relations to new heights in the coming days," added the foreign minister.
Dr Momen said he believes "connectivity is productivity" and Bangladesh's visionary prime minister has been trying to expand Bangladesh's connectivity in roads, rail, river routes, and heart-to-heart with its neighbours.
"In fact, robust railway connectivity is an enabler of connectivity, an enabler of economic growth, a platform for uniform development, and a catalyst for national integration," said the minister.
Indian Minister Shri Piyush Goyal underscored the significance of railway cooperation in enhancing bilateral trade and connectivity – plus in further boosting the economic partnership between the two countries.