India, B'desh discussing construction of a 765kV power interconnection: MEA

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New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) India and Bangladesh are discussing the construction of a 765-kV power interconnection from Katihar in India via Parbotipur in Bangladesh to Bornagar which when constructed, will reinforce the interconnectivity of grids in the region, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday.

This comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka next week to attend the celebrations of the golden jubilee of the country's independence and the birth centenary of its founder ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India-Bangladesh cooperation in the power and energy sectors has been vibrant and dynamic, and India's efforts are directed towards infrastructure and capacity creation as well as promoting energy efficiency.

'Currently, India is supplying 1160 MW of power through the two existing interconnections at Baharampur (West Bengal)-Bheramara (Bangladesh) and Surajmaninagar (Tripura) – Comilla (Bangladesh),' he said in a series of tweets.

India is constructing the 1320-MW Maitree Super Thermal Power Project at Rampal in Bangladesh, with Unit 1 expected to be commissioned later this year and Unit 2 in 2022, Srivastava said.

The PMs of both countries jointly inaugurated a project to import Bulk LPG from Bangladesh in October 2019, he said.

This project has enhanced bilateral trade and ensures a sustained affordable supply of LPG to the North East region of India, from Chattogram through Bangladeshi trucks to Tripura, Srivastava said.

India is also constructing the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline from Siliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh for supply of high speed diesel, he said. 'Both sides are in discussion regarding the construction of a 765kV power interconnection from katihar in India via Parbotipur in Bangladesh to Bornagar in India, which when constructed, will reinforce the interconnectivity of the grids in the region,' the MEA spokesperson said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Dhaka on March 26 and return home the next day, according to sources.

Meanwhile, addressing the Ananta Aspen Centre via video conference, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, 'We have not made an official announcement of the prime minister's visit, if he (Modi) visits Bangladesh later this month, he will be doing so at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.' It will be a very important occasion as it is the 50th anniversary of the India-Bangladesh relations and the 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh War, he said.

It is also the 100th birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he noted.

Just a day before the prime minister reaches, Bangladesh commemorates the genocide day to mark the killing of nearly 3 million Bangladeshis by Pakistani occupation forces in a brutal manner in 1971, Shringla said.

'This is an important occasion. The prime minister is the only guest so it will be he and prime minister Hasina who will conduct the proceedings that will mark these important milestones in the history of our countries,' he said.

'Relations between India and Bangladesh have come a long way... The assassination of Mujibur Rahman did create a void, did lead to certain elements coming in that were inimical to our interests but ultimately we have found our way back,' he said, adding that the bilateral relationship is extraordinary and mutually beneficial. PTI ASK TIR TIR