Will India Allow Nepal-Bangladesh Trade?

After agreeing to a rail link between Nepal and Bangladesh, will India allow the two countries to use that?It didn’t happen in 1976 when Bangladesh and Nepal signed a transit agreement for boosting bilateral trade but failed to implemented it as India did not allow its territory to be used for passage at that time. Here’s a report that appeared in a Bangladeshi newspaper that caught our attention:

Doubt over benefit from Nepal rail link: Bangladeshi paper

Analysts emphasise two-way transit, use of Chittagong and Mongla ports by the Himalayan country. By Sajjadur Rahman/ The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

A rail transit between Bangladesh and Nepal, as desired by India at the foreign secretary level talks in Dhaka, could only be fruitful if Nepal is given a go-ahead for external trade through the use of Bangladesh’s Mongla and Chittagong ports, say analysts.

“This is not very clear whether Nepal will be allowed to use Bangladesh ports for its exports and imports,” said Dr M Rahmatullah, a noted transport expert and former director (transport) of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap).

No side will benefit from the proposed transit facility unless the Himalayan landlocked country does its foreign trade via Bangladesh, viewed Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

“What I have understood from the talks it must be a two-way traffic and Nepal should be allowed to go to a third country via Bangladesh,” said Rahman of the private think tank.

Although Bangladesh and Nepal had signed a transit agreement in 1976 for boosting bilateral trade, it could not be implemented, as India did not allow its territory to be used for passage at that time.

Both Bangladesh and Nepal have to use Indian territories for road or railway connectivity between them.

Early this week Delhi’s foreign secretary Nirupama Rao talked Bangladesh-Nepal railway link issue with her Dhaka counterpart. Both sides hinted at a likely deal in this regard during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India next month.

Both Rahmatullah and Rahman — the two trade and transport experts — pointed to the existing treaties where Bangladesh is allowed for bilateral trade with Nepal and Bhutan on road. But Dhaka and Kathmandu have been seeking railway link for years to make the trade useful, they said.

Rahmatullah, who also led a regional study on multi-modal transport system, sees no benefit from the proposed railway transit if not Nepal allowed external trade through Bangladesh’s sea ports.

“The recent Dhaka-Delhi talks did not match what we expected,” he said in his reaction.

However, Mustafizur Rahman thinks Nepal will be allowed to do external trade via Bangladesh.

Ananya Raihan, another trade expert, also said one-way transit will not benefit any country.

But he laid more emphasis on regional connectivity than any bilateral one.

“Why the transit issue with Nepal is seen separately bypassing the regional transit,” Raihan questioned.

Two-way trade between Bangladesh and Nepal was nearly $80 million in 2008-09 fiscal. Of which Nepal’s exports were about $70 million.

Meanwhile the Bangladesh Railway (BR) is working on to find out the most convenient route for rail transit to Nepal after India’s positive response, officials said.

“If Dhaka could sign deals with Delhi and Katmandu on Chilahati-Haldibari as the transit point on Bangladesh-India border, it would be most convenient for rail passage,” said a senior BR official.

India’s Jogbani station on the Nepal border is just 35 kilometres away from Chilahati in Bangladesh. The station is also close to Bhutan.

On the other hand, the Rohanpur-Shinghabad border point, which India appears to have settled as a possible transit point on its border, is more than 150 kilometres away from Jogbani station.

“We have identified Chilahati-Haldibari transit point as the best rail route to Nepal, but it depends on government decision,” the official said.

He said Bangladesh will have to build eight kilometres of new broad gauge track, while India needs to build three kilometres on its territory for the proposed route.

The Bangladesh Railway had broad gauge track up to the border with India there, but the link was removed some years ago, he added.

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11 thoughts on “Will India Allow Nepal-Bangladesh Trade?”

  1. Indians will never allow Nepal to progress by doing international trade with other countries. This is so disgusting and our leaders can do nothing. We have the right to access to the sea. But India always obstructs. This rail access with Bangladesh will face the same fate.

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  2. I love trains and travelling to poor and suffering areas is good for all of us, it removes some of the stupity of capital people.

    Now that we are facing a blockage of Kathmandu this time I feel sad and sorry for all of us. Why our own people became terrorist against ourselves? Difficult to understand and sad to see why we are cut off from normality how to survive abroad. Why incomptent leaders of NC and …. are doing this to their own nation and we have to be suffering this craziness. Soon Nepal will be Ghaza seems like.

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  3. India should never allow this to happen. India did a first mistake when allowed britishers to come and trade over India and finally they ruled all over India, if we allow this to happen then today or tomorrow, History is gonna repeat itself.

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  4. Well, the right to self determination, emancipations and so on….America has its problems, India has its own.
    Do not understand why the NGO’s pulled out I do understand but there should have been a consensus on why they are supposed to cooperate?

    Now that I see the result of 15 years not 10 of civil war, it makes sense doen’t it tourists fly the violence like any nepalese.

    I have always been surprised at those old communist books in developing countries it is an information vacuum which has been resolved thanks to blogging, maybe we wanted to project moments of hope and glory on countries like Nicaragua, Cuba, but one could also see how the cubans went to Miami even they called them gusanos, worms, those who were not revolutionairies. And that poster of the cigar smoking Che Guevara who was sadly murdered in Bolivia, I really hate that.

    The world should grow up. We are all confused. I totally do not know what future we all have in Nepal.
    And I am not pessimistic I am optimistic, I believe we will survive, working very hard to rebuild the nation. In the end money seems to be more important than I would have given it credit to. In Europe the consequences of credit crunch are tremendous, not just suicides and job losses, banks dissapearing, more the entire atmosphere in Switzerland and Germany turned fully sour, all is incredibly expensive we are all confined to our homes exactly like bandha.

    There is so much to do yet the nation plays games, computer, telephone, do not know what to do …school sends boys to the red cross, hindus prefer to slaughter oxes and be proud of it than believe in each other.

    Power sick nation.

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  5. India should screw Nepal and Bangladesh. Fuckers want to trade- through India and call it their right. Bastards. When India wanted transit through Bangladesh it became an issue of sovereignty. When India wanted to increase security at Kathmandu airport (from where good friends of both the bloody Pakis hijacked a plane) then it became an issue of sovereignty. When Pakis were fucking Bengalis and when China will fuck Nepal then they will come crying to India for help. I say we never let the bastards use India for transit. What will they trade anyway shit and piss?

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  6. The best way to connect Nepal with Bangladesh is through using the siliguri strip(chickens neck) as a multipurpose highway consisting railways, oil and gas pipeline, electricity grid and road. Nepal must focus its foreign business to european markets. Finally Nepal should address the reasonable security concerns of India. If the leaders of Nepal ask for this transit India won’t reject it. They know the cooperation with Nepal on irrigation and water management.

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  7. I think there should be railway link between Bhadrapur,NEPAL and Tetulia Upazila, BANGLADESH including oil pipeline and high power electricity grid.
    this will increase export of the country and reduce indian security relaled issue.

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