The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal today said India is looking to advance the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Bangladesh. Addressing the “Inaugural session of India-Bangladesh Stakeholder’s meet”, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Shri Goyal said India-Bangladesh bilateral relationship is reaching new heights due to the efforts of both the Prime Ministers, – Shri Narendra Modi & H.E. Sheikh Hasina.
“Our friendship has not only stood the test of time but has now blossomed into multifaceted, mutually enriching relationship with deep collaboration in trade, investment, food security & technology,” said Shri Goyal, in his address through video conference.
Shri Goyal listed four focus areas for strengthening India-Bangladesh relationship:
1. Uninterrupted Supply chain is need of the hour: As H.E. Sheikh Hasina said, “Connectivity is productivity”; despite COVID-19, we maintained uninterrupted supply chain between the two countries. Also improving this connectivity further is imperative for expansion of our bilateral trade and realisation of the investment potential of Bangladesh and eastern India.
2. Need to give more impetus to Joint Production of Defence Equipment: Our defence cooperation has not progressed, though India offered USD 500 mn line of credit. Time has come to take it to the next level!
3. Explore potential areas of investments, like Textiles, Jute products, Leather & Footwear, APIs for Pharmaceuticals, Medical Equipment, Digital Health & Education Services, Agribusiness, Electronics, Renewable Energy, etc.
4. India and Bangladesh can become ‘Pharmacy of the world’: During COVID-19, vaccines produced in India, – Covaxin & Covishield created a niche for themselves as safe vaccines. Time has now come for joint manufacturing of vaccines and other medicines!
Shri Goyal said Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia.
“Since 2014 we have scaled up our trade and economic engagement as collaborators and not competitors,” said Shri Goyal. “Vaccine Maitree reaffirmed our Mitrata (friendship) with over one crore vaccines being supplied from India. We have also extended three lines of credit for $8 bn to Bangladesh, the largest concessional credit given by India to any single country. Indo-Bangladesh CEO Forum to promote investments is another testimony to our friendship. We are also developing two Indian Economic Zones at Mirsarai and Mongla in Bangladesh. The Textile Industry Forum between us constituted to facilitate cooperation in the Textiles sector is also yielding results. We have over 350 Indian companies in Bangladesh now. The Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has invited 50 young Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to visit India, which I am sure will augment our strong ties,” he added.
Shri Goyal said India and Bangladesh enjoy a strong relationship on the solid foundation of a shared history, culture and values of democracy.
“We are brothers bonded by principles of our founding fathers – Bapu & Bangabandhu, the most revered Sheikh Mujibur Rahman),” he said.
Recalling the visit of PM Modi in March 2021 to Bangladesh as a testament of our strong relations based on equality and trust, Shri Goyal said the 6th Dec’ 21 was celebrated as “Maitree Diwas”; i.e. celebration of 50 yrs of Independent Bangladesh and 50 yrs of India-Bangladesh ties.
Shri Goyal hoped the Stakeholders Meet would provide a fillip to not only India-Bangladesh business relations but also with Southeast Asian countries. Dr. Mashiur AKM Rahman, Economic Affairs Adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister, Shri Pradeep Sureka, President, ICC and other dignitaries participated in the meet.