New Delhi, Sep 3 (PTI) A trial run of the Sonamura–Daukandi route which connects Tripura with the National Waterways of India through Bangladesh has begun and would conclude on Saturday, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday, asserting that the initiative will greatly enhance connectivity with the North Eastern region and boost trade.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Protocol for Inland Water Trade and Transit (PIWTT) was signed between India and Bangladesh in 1972 to provide inland waterways connectivity between the two countries.
This facilitates bilateral trade as well as improves connectivity to the North Eastern Region of India, he said at an online briefing.
In 2019-2020, approximately 3.5 million metric tonnes of cargo was transported between India and Bangladesh on the protocol routes.
'With the signing the 2nd addendum to PIWTT in May 2020, two new protocol routes have been added. Of particular significance is the Sonamura – Daukandi route as it connects Tripura with the National Waterways of India through Bangladesh for the first time,' Srivastava said.
'A trial run has commenced from Daukandi and would conclude at Sonamura on September 5, 2020 in the presence of chief minister of Tripura and India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh,' he said.
This is yet another recent connectivity initiative with Bangladesh, which will greatly enhance connectivity with our North Eastern region and boost bilateral trade with Bangladesh, he said.
Enhanced connectivity through inland waterways in the present COVID–19 scenario will provide an economical, faster, safer and cleaner mode of transportation for traders and business communities of both countries, Srivastava said.
To a separate question on vaccine cooperation, he said the issue was discussed between the Indian and Banglasdeshi sides during the recent visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Dhaka.
'As a close neighbour and strategic partner, we have assured the Bangladesh side that Bangladesh will get high priority in supply of vaccine, once ready. We are glad to note that enterprises on both sides are also taking steps towards this end,' he said. PTI ASK RDM RDM