Bangladesh’s geostrategic significance to Japan and Northeast India
Japanese Ambassador to India Hiroshi Suzuki (R) and Tripura CM Manik Saha (L)

Agartala: Japanese Ambassador to India Hiroshi Suzuki on Tuesday asserted that India’s northeast and Bangladesh have the potential to be transformed into a gateway of landlocked countries like Bhutan and Nepal and emerge as the new Industrial value chain in the Bay of Bengal area.

Addressing the intellectual conclave organized by Asian confluence here in Agartala, the Japanese envoy said, “Japan has a vision for Bangladesh and India’s North East to flourish as a new economic corridor for the rest of the world. Both countries share strong relations with Japan and we are looking forward to creating a new industrial value chain in the Bay of Bengal area along the lines of the Southern Corridor in the Mekong area. The core objective of this new plan laid down by the Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is to make sure that 300 million people living in the Bay of Bengal area—in Bangladesh, West Bengal and North East India get benefited immensely.”

Sharing the background of the plan, Suzuki said Japan had plans to bring in a greater synergy of Japanese projects active in northeast India and Bangladesh. “Former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, who is unfortunately not with us, had for the first time envisioned a free and open Indo-pacific. His works are now being carried forward by the incumbent Prime Minister who in his recent visit to New Delhi had laid emphasis on the importance of the North East in this new strategic partnership. And we believe Tripura is the linchpin of the new connectivity push in the region being the transit point of North East India to the Bay of Bengal. The Matarbari deep sea port will be operational by 2027. Now we have the plan to connect Matarbari deep sea port with Chittagong and the North East region. This will enable North East India to connect anywhere in the world,” he pointed out.

Apart from that, he said, the “Big B” plan of Bangladesh which stands for the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt is also in the pipeline.

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“Connectivity can’t alone solve the problems. To address the situation, we need investments for bringing sustainability. When the global community is predicting a recession in the offing, India and Bangladesh have maintained a very high growth rate. The entire world is now talking about the potential of this region. We want to establish a greater synergy in the projects underway in both countries and seek help from both sides to open new opportunities for the region,” he added.

He also mentioned that India and Bangladesh are two countries that are receiving the highest Japanese ODA and co-leading India in its ambitious Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI). 

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