Indian Railways hands over 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh

New Delhi: The Indian Railways has handed over 10 Broad Gauge Locomotives to Bangladesh on Monday. In a handing over ceremony, 10 Broad Gauge locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal. The event was also attended by the Minister of State for Railways Suresh C Angadi. Bangladesh's Minister of Railway Md Nurul Islam Sujan and Bangladesh's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Abul Kalam Abdul Momen received the locomotives on the behalf of the government of Bangladesh.

In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.

Speaking on the occasion Goyal said, “It gives me immense pleasure to hand over 10 broad gauge locomotives for the use of Bangladesh Railways. These locomotives will be useful in handling the on-going freight train operations between India and Bangladesh. To ensure the usability of these locos in Bangladesh, they have been modified. We have been huge strides forward in our respective efforts at achieving development and growth. India and Bangladesh have come a long way in the last few years. Our bilateral relationship today is at its very best. Our neighbourhood policy follows Narendra Modi vision of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas. The leadership of both, India and Bangladesh, are committed to reviving the pre-1965 railway connection between the two countries. Out of the seven rail links that existed then, four are functional now. To further strengthen rail connectivity in the region, one new rail link, between Agartala in India and Akhaura in Bangladesh is being constructed and finance under Grant Assistance of India. During COVID-19, both Railways have shown exemplary foresight in managing the crisis and maintained the supply chain by stepping up the transportation of essential commodities. Parcel train and container train services have been introduced via Benapole in Bangladesh. Both these services have already started in the month of July. These have enabled us to move a wide range of products from both sides. Railways have ensured that the two countries can continue our bilateral trade without any disruption & health risk. Both Railways are ensuring a better future for the people.”

During his address, on behalf of the Indian Railways, Goyal also committed complete, unstinted and unlimited support to Bangladesh in its development of the rail network. He underscored the significance of railway cooperation in enhancing bilateral trade and connectivity and in further boosting the economic partnership between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Jaishankar said, “I am delighted to join this ceremony of handing over 10 locomotives to Bangladesh. I am glad to know that parcel and container trains have been started between both countries. This will open up new opportunities for our businesses. I am happy to note that the movement of trade by rail has been ensured. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of essentials, particularly in the holy month of Ramadan, were ensured.” 

He further highlighted the depth of time tested India-Bangladesh ties, based on mutual trust and respect. He expressed his happiness that the COVID-19 pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation and conveyed that he looked forward to more such milestones in the on-going historic Mujib Barsho.

In recent times, India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as trade via land border faced disruptions. Rail as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution has helped in transporting essential commodities across the border. Both sides saw the highest-ever exchange of freight trains in the month of June. A total of 103 freight trains were utilised for carrying essential commodities and raw materials.

Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh. This is expected to significantly enhance the scope of bilateral trade.

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