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Hasina's son roots for connectivity with India

Thursday December 09, 2010 04:50:18 PM, IANS

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's technocrat son Sajeeb Wazed Joy has strongly supported the government's plans to "connect" with India and other neighbours and join the trans-Asian rail and road network.

"It is connectivity. Transit is an aspect. India will get transit and we will get a fee. We must get a fee. Why not," Joy was quoted as saying by The Daily Star Thursday.

"Without connectivity and trade in this age of globalisation, the pace of growth and investment will not increase," he said at a luncheon meeting organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham).

Bangladesh sits at the centre of three main drivers of growth in Asia -- India, China and Southeast Asia. But it has failed to take advantage of geography by developing connectivity with the three economies, he said.

One reason he cited was opposition from the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of Khaleda Zia, a former prime minister.

Criticising the BNP, Joy said the Awami League, led by his mother, "has moved to establish Bangladesh's connectivity with the region, which will facilitate expansion of trade, transport and investment and boost the country's nearly $100 billion economy.

"We'll gain financially. We will get fees for transit of all goods through our land."

Aside from connectivity with India, the country will have road links with Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia through the Asian Highway allowing easy access of Bangladeshi goods to those countries, he said.

In addition, as China will be linked to the Asian Highway, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and China will shoot up.

"Ultimately, it'll benefit us," said Sajeeb, an IT professional with graduation from Texas University who is now with the Awami League.

Bangladesh and India agreed on connectivity with Nepal and Bhutan during a visit by Hasina to New Delhi in January, when India pledged a $one billion line of credit.

Moves are afoot since then to allow India limited access to its isolated northeastern region, beginning with trans-shipment through Bangladeshi territory of heavy equipment required to set up a power plant in Tripura.





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