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India to open economy doors to Bangladesh and Myanmar

DHAKA -- India is developing infrastructure in its border areas to increase trade with neighboring countries, Pankaj Saran, the Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, said yesterday.

The move comes on the back of India's decision to open up its economy to its neighbors, Saran said.

Saran spoke at a seminar, “Prospects of Sub-Regional Cooperation involving Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar,” organized by the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the capital's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel.

The proposed platform will complement the existing South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), although three SAARC countries — Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Maldives — have been excluded from it.

“India is ready to continue discussion on sub-regional cooperation,” Saran said.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni urged the neighboring countries for greater regional cooperation in water resource management.

“Seamless visible connectivity will help grow regional trade,” she said.

Improving transport infrastructure is needed for greater regional trade, said Moazzem Hossain, editor of The Financial Express.

“We need to do everything. It is a win-win situation.”

Mamun Rashid, a professor at BRAC University, urged the leaders of the region to engage the private sector in dialogues pertaining to trade.

“Bangladesh should explore the Indian market aggressively as the country has already been given duty-free facility for all except 25 products.”

Former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury asked for an end to border killing to bring greater harmony to the region.

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