New Delhi:27/7/20: In a handing over ceremony held today, 10 Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh by the External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar and the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal. The event was also attended by the Minister of State for Railways, Shri Suresh C. Angadi. From the Bangladesh end, Minister of Railway, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Abul Kalam Abdul Momen received the locomotives on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh.
The handing over of these locomotives, under grant assistance from the Government of India, fulfills an important commitment made during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina to India, in October, 2019. 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, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar said, “I am delighted to join this ceremony of handing over 10 locomotive to Bangladesh. I am glad to know that Parcel and container trains have been started between both the countries. This will open up new opportunities for our businesses. I am happy to note that movement of trade by rail have been ensured. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of essentials particularly in the holy month of Ramadan were ensured.”
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush 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 & 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 & growth. India & Bangladesh have come a long way in the last few years. Our bilateral relationship today is at its very best. Our neighbourhood policy follows PM Shri Narendra Modi ji’s vision of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.
In the 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 environmental 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 utilized 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.