Aizawl: The Mizoram government and Bangladesh government would take steps to capitalize on the potentiality of a thriving border trade regime through establishment of critical trade infrastructure at viable locations.

The two governments on Monday issued a joint statement as an outcome of the meeting between visiting Bangladesh commerce minister Tipu Munshi and Mizoram commerce and industry minister Dr. R. Lalthangliana over the proposed border trade between the northeastern state and the neighbouring country. 

“After careful examination of the possibility and viability for setting up of border haat at Silsury (India) – Sajek (Bangladesh), the Government of Bangladesh may convey formal approval through diplomatic channel,” the joint statement signed by Munshi on behalf of Bangladesh government and Dr Lalthangliana on Mizoram government’s behalf said.

During the meeting of the two ministers, the Mizoram government proposed that the government of Bangladesh may explore possibility and viability of setting up of matching infrastructure in the form of an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Thegamukh on Bangladesh side, adjacent to the ICP being developed at Kawrpuichhuah in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district, in order to synchronize efforts to formalize trade on both sides, the joint statement said. 

It said that the Mizoram government also proposed that in order to upgrade connectivity, the government of Bangladesh may consider possibility of constructing a 17 km road from Chhota Horin to Thegamukh in Bangladesh.

The Mizoram government also urged the Bangladesh government to include Khawthlangtuipui (Karnaphuli) river in one of the routes on India – Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade, it said.

The six points joint statement said the Mizoram government will make efforts to expedite the construction of the proposed 660m concrete bridge over Khawthlangtuipui river in Lunglei district to connect Kawrpuichhuah with Bangladesh. 

During the meeting, both sides agreed to make an endeavour to capitalize on the potentiality of a thriving border trade regime through establishment of critical trade infrastructure at viable locations, it said. 

Meanwhile, a Bangladeshi official told reporters on Monday that efforts are being taken to set up a land custom station in Bangladesh near the Mizoram border.  

Bangladesh commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Monday said that the Bangladeshi government is keen on fostering better ties with India especially the northeastern states, including Mizoram.

“Our Prime Minister is very interested in maintaining good relationship with the Northeast and has a soft corner for Mizoram during the state’s minister visit to the country (Bangladesh),” Munshi said while jointly addressing a news conference with Mizoram commerce and industry minister Dr. R. Lalthangliana  in Aizawl on Monday.

He said that around 40,000 Mizo people also live in Bangladesh and the proposed border trade, when formalised, would cement the relationship between the two countries.

He thanked the government of India for its help in the past and said Bangladesh is sincere to its bordering countries. 

The visiting Bangladeshi minister said that the Bangladesh government is making massive efforts towards a border trade with Mizoram that it hopes would economically benefit both Bangladesh and Mizoram. 

Bangladesh will be able to import vegetables and various local products such as tamarind, chili, stone (boulder) and bamboo products, among others, from Mizoram, the supplies of which are short in Bangladesh, he said. 

The country can also export plastic products,steel, cement, garments and other local products to Mizoram although the trade items are yet to be considered based on the needs and demands of the people, he said.

The Bangladeshi minister claimed that the neighbouring country is doing far better than India in terms of economy and its per capita income is comparatively much higher than India. 

He said that Bangladesh also surpassed India in other 7 parameters.

Dr Lalthangliana also told reporters that the Mizoram government is taking all necessary steps towards immediate formalisation of border trade between Mizoram and Bangladesh. 

The two ministers have jointly visited and verified sites for the proposed border haat at Silsury in western Mizoram’s Mamit district and Integrated Check Post (ICP), which is being developed at Kawrpuichhuah in Tlabung sub division in the southern part of the state on the Indo-Bangladesh border on Saturday.

Three Mizoram districts- Lunglei, Mamit and Lawngtlai share a 318 km long international border with Bangladesh. 

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