The Draft Agreement on Coastal Shipping between India and Bangladesh has been finalised during a Secretary-level talk held here between the two countries when the Bangladesh delegation was on a visit to country from April 19 to 23. Subject to approval of the competent authority of the respective countries, this arrangement would allow River Sea Vessels (RSV) to carry cargo between the two neighbours. In terms of berthing charges and light dues, both the countries would extend national treatment to one another. The commencement of coastal shipping between the two countries would give a boost to Exim trade between India and Bangladesh.
During the talk, both the countries also agreed on extension of Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) with the provision of automatic renewal. This is in line with the proposed amendment to the Bangladesh-India trade agreement. This will make PIWTT being automatically renewed after five years. With regard to development of entire protocol route under regional IDA assistance of World Bank, Bangladesh agreed to revert after obtaining approval of the concerned authority of Bangladesh. It was also agreed between the countries that a draft agreement for the regular movement of passengers and cruise vessels would be shared by India with Bangladesh through diplomatic channel.
The issue relating to inclusion of Pangaon container terminal (ICT) in Bangladesh as a Port of Call was discussed and Bangladesh side informed that the Pangaon (ICT), with two other ICT in Bangladesh, may be used as a Port of Call by cargo vessel operator. Bangladesh requested that Farraka and Bandel on National Waterway (NW) – 1 may be declared as a Port of Call. Indian delegation, agreeing on the reciprocity, mentioned that on Farraka it would revert after internal consultations. On cooperation on Light House and marine training, India offered to extend training to the personnel in Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh delegation was led by Shri Shafiq Alam Mehdi, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of Bangladesh. The delegation also visited Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) at Goa and Jawaharlal Nehru Post Trust (JNPT) in Mumbai.