First Cargo Vehicle Via Dhaka Reaches Agartala

  • The first cargo truck via Bangladesh arrived in Agartala, opening a new era in the movement of surface cargo in the region.
  • Officials of India and Bangladesh flagged off the vehicle — a DHL truck carrying electronic equipment — in Kolkata. It covered a distance of 640 km and reached Tripura.
  • The new route has hugely cut the distance and travel time as the traditional route between Kolkata and Agartala was 1,550 km.Tripura government officials said the new transport arrangement was an offshoot of a regional treaty signed among India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan in latter’s capital Thimphu in June last.
  • The protocol cleared stalemate in ferrying surface cargo between these countries with Nepal, Bhutan and larger parts of Bangladesh being landlocked.
  • Officials said similar movement of cargo to Assam and Meghalaya via Dhaka would soon begin.
  • Bangladesh earlier allowed river transit facility to India for transporting rice and project installation equipment to north-eastern States with Tripura as gateway. Bilateral transit issue gained momentum during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka early this year.

Boost trade ties with Indonesia, says Ansari

  • In spite of India and Indonesia having been trade partners since the 2nd Century B.C., their bilateral trade and investment had not realised its full potential, said Vice-President Hamid Ansari. Addressing the Indian Business Forum, he said the two nations must “synergise our efforts in areas of economy and business.”
  • Ansari pointed out that, in 2014-15 India’s total imports from Indonesia totalled as much as $15 billion while the exports came to just $4 billion. Citing this stark “imbalance of trade,” Mr. Ansari said the complementarities between the two nations must be harnessed in attracting investments: “India’s vast consumer market, youthful skilled human resources, and expertise in IT, combined with Indonesia’s natural resources, youthful population, and strategic location, would provide a platform for enhanced economic cooperation and engagement.”
  • Acknowledging the links between the two nations, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla pointed out that Indian businessmen had prominence in Indonesia — he recalled that Lakshmi Narayan Mittal had sowed the seeds of his business empire with a modest steel plant in East Java.
  • India, the largest buyer of crude palm oil from Indonesia, also imports coal, minerals, rubber, pulp, hydrocarbons in significant quantities from the nation.
  • Among its major exports to Indonesia are refined petroleum products, maize, telecommunication equipment, commercial vehicles and oil seeds. Mr. Ansari identified infrastructure development and energy security as key areas of cooperation with its “long-term strategic partner.”