Remarks by Acting High Commissioner of India, Dr Adarsh Swaika at the Road Show to Promote ‘Maritime Conclave 2019’ being Organized in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on 14-15 February 2019 চলমান ঘটনাবলী

১৪-১৫ ফেব্রুয়ারি ২০১৯ ভারতের উড়িষ্যার ভুবনেশ্বরে অনুষ্ঠিতব্য 'মেরিটাইম কনক্লেভ ২০১৯' উপলক্ষে আয়োজিত রোড শোতে ভারপ্রাপ্ত ভারতীয় হাই কমিশনার ড. আদর্শ সোয়াইকার বক্তব্য

High Commission of India



Remarks by Acting High Commissioner of India, Dr Adarsh Swaika at the Road Show to Promote ‘Maritime Conclave 2019’ being Organized in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on 14-15 February 2019

[Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Dhaka, 31 January 2019]

Hon’ble Economic Affairs Advisor to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Mashiur Rahman

Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Bangladesh. H.E. Md. Abdus Samad

President, India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry (IBCCI), Mr Abdul Matlub Ahmad,

Senio Vice President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Mr Sheikh Fazle Fahim

Ladies & Gentlemen

I am happy to be a part of the road show focussed on promotion of Maritime India Conclave 2019 being organized jointly by the Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India on 14-15 February 2019 at Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.

The conclave will provide a major platform for promotion of investment in the maritime sector in India. The event is expected to be attended by over 200 investors, developers and over 1,000 delegates, both domestic and international. Besides, representatives from Government, Public Sector Enterprises, developers and financial institutions, state maritime boards, and other related stakeholders are also expected to attend.

In the last few years Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to upgrade our maritime and logistics infrastructure. Under its flagship programme SAGARMALA, Government has embarked on a mission to promote port led development. Under SAGARMALA, we are developing new ports and modernizing existing ones; improving port connectivity and promoting port led industrialization. Government has also undertaken a number of regulatory and procedural reforms in this sector to improve ease of doing business. 

Government has also placed great emphasis on improving waterways connectivity in India. Under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, navigability of a 1380 km stretch of the river Ganga is being improved. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi recently (November 2018) dedicated a multimodal terminal constructed under this project in Varanasi. Government also intends to undertake development of two prominent National Waterways in our northeastern region.

India-Bangladesh cooperation in the area of maritime and waterways connectivity has also made rapid strides since the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in June 2015. Our cooperation has included:

Revitalization of the Protocol on Inland Waterways Trade and Transit (PIWTT) which has a longer validity now with provision for auto renewal which is allowing for sustained focus and investment in improving inland waterways connectivity; we are now able to devote our energies to identifying new ports of call and waterways instead of on renewal of the protocol every 12 months;

Transshipment of goods to northeastern states through Ashuganj river port – this is a win-win as while it meets the needs of our northeastern states, it also provides economic benefits to Bangladesh vessel operators and transport companies;

India is also partnering with Bangladesh for development of an Inland Container Port (ICP) at Ashuganj, and for widening the existing road between Akhaura Land Port and Ashuganj to 4 lanes; these two projects are being implemented under the second Line of Credit of 2 billion dollars to Bangladesh;

Joint funding of dredging of two important stretches on Jamuna and Kushiayara rivers in Bangladesh under the MoU; India is paying 80% of the cost for this project; it will help improve navigability of the Protocol routes in Bangladesh and also help facilitate seamless connectivity between National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) and National Waterway-2 (River Brahmaputra) in India and the waterways in Bangladesh;

Commencement of Coastal Shipping between the two countries; here we feel that the potential is relatively untapped; one initiative that can give a boost to Coastal Shipping would be to use Indian ports for transshipment of Bangladesh’s EXIM cargo under the Coastal Shipping Agreement; officials from both sides have discussed this proposal and this needs to be taken forward;

Movement of passenger and cruise vessels on Coastal and Protocol routes; the SOP for this was signed when Hon’ble Shipping Secretary had visited India in October 2018; we are eagerly looking forward to the launch of first cruise vessel between India and Bangladesh under this framework by March 2018;

We have also signed an agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla ports for further enhancing connectivity of northeastern India; once operationalized this would again be economically beneficial for communities all along the specified routes in India and Bangladesh;

Under the third Line of Credit of USD 5 billion, India and Bangladesh are also partnering to develop infrastructure of three major Ports in Bangladesh;

I am certain that Maritime Conclave 2019, besides presenting opportunities for investment in the maritime sector in India, will also generate new ideas on further enhancing bilateral cooperation in this area. I invite the Bangladesh business community, particularly those from shipping and waterways, to attend the event. I would request FBCCI and IBCCI to consider leading business delegations for the Conclave.  

I thank the Hon’ble Economic Affairs Advisor, H.E. Dr. Moshiur Rahman for taking time out to attend this event today. He is a great advocate of greater India-Bangladesh connectivity and economic integration and has played an important role in pushing several of these initiatives. I would also like to thank the Hon’ble Shipping Secretary who has also contributed significantly to our growing cooperation in the area of shipping and waterways. 

Thank you.