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Transit: prospects and speculations September 5, 2011

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Manmohan Singh, PM of India is coming to Bangadesh. Many unsolved issues will be discussed and some MoU will be signed.

One of the important MoUs will be about transit. Foreign Minister Dipu Moni in a previsit presss briefing said that a MoU on trasit will be signed during the period. 
Depapriya Bhattacharjee, Fellow, CPD expressed that transit will bring tremoundous opportunity to Bangladesh but we shouldn’t mess it by ill thought and ill planned unnecessary hurried steps. He added that an independent and complete formulation of the agreement was needed and he is feeling uneasiness to the tidbit approach to the issue. 
 Many demanded to pubish the draft agreement in public but the government is not ready to accept this.

An ordinary citizen

Google search: Transit to India

Increasing connectivity between Bangladesh & its neighbours August 13, 2010

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Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dipu Moni expressed recently that Bangladesh is trying to establish increasing connectivity with its neighbours. Bangladesh is working on transit with India, Nepal and Bhutan. She added that people and goods will start moving once the connectivity is established.

Bangladesh is taking loan of $1b from India to develop the infrastructure.

BNP, the main opposition party is deadly against the transit with India. They are claiming that Bangladesh will not be able to control the contents of transit and will unnecessarily invite the trouble in the country by the rebels in the eastern states of India.

BNP said the government is getting the loan from an Indian bank at an interest rate seven times higher than what any multinational bank or donor agency would charge.

MK Anwar, former Industry Minister said the deal for infrastructure projects will eventually benefit India while Bangladeshis will have to repay the loan. “The implementation of the projects with the Indian loan will serve Indian interests more than Bangladesh’s,” he said.
he BNP lawmaker claimed that such loans are available from any multinational bank at only .25 percent interest.
Dipu Moni however said that the government signed the agreement with India by following international norms and standards, and the cabinet also gave its nod.

It is true that Bangladesh can’t remain confined within itself, needs better connectivity with its neighbours. But what Bangladesh is lacking -preparation and projection of the project, debate among the experts and in the parliament, not to be limited in media rhetoric, necessary transparency of the deeds, consensus among the major political parties regarding international pact.

Above all, the conditions should be such that it is a win-win situation for all the parties.

The ordinary citizen is also not aware of any thoughtful study by any universities in Bangladesh on the connectivity issue.

Government also needs to proceed with developing communications with Burma and through Burma developing transit with China. That will give Bangladesh more access to the region and will give Government more balanced state of policy.

An ordinary citizen

On Trade, Transit and TIFA February 6, 2009

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The new government become suddenly busy in signing bilateral trade, on the issue on transit and TIFA.

The haste draws criticism from opponents and citizens. The Commerce Minister tries to assure the public that Government will not do anything which goes against the interest of the country. He also assures that every major treaty will be disclosed and discussed in the parliament. He asserted that as this government came to the power with the mandate of the people, it will try to respect it.

The State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Hasan told ‘Transit is an economic issue’ . But many consider it has political implication also.

Regarding TIFA, USA is eager to sign the bilateral agreement with different countries including Bangladesh. USA tried to pass the treaty during the last political regime but due to disagreement on some of the clauses, it was not ultimately approved.

In the meantime, Council of Ministers approved 2 trade agreements with India. It is said that one of the agreements was first sign in 1980 during Ziaur Rahman regime. It was extended by the past governments and it is now resigned only. In this treaty, the signing countries is allowed to use the roads, water ways and railways for transportation of goods between two places in one country through the territory of the other. The second agreement is a new one by the name ‘Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) to boost trade and investment with India.[DS].

We hope that every treaty should be disclosed to the public,be well debated in the media and in parliament and only be accepted if it appears good for the country in short and long term basis.

An ordinary citizen

Full text of the Trade Agreement with India
Trade and Investment Framework Agreements of USA