Connectivity and paying tributes to Bangladesh’s father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the centenary birth anniversary celebration will be the top focus areas of Indian PM Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s virtual summit on Thursday.
On connectivity, the opening of the Haldibari-Chilahati rail link connecting Bangladesh with the Indian state of West Bengal will be the major outcome of the meet. The route will also connect Assam with Bangladesh and expectedly increase connectivity and economic development in the region help in the movement of cargo.
With the opening of the rail link, five out of pre-1965 six rail links between the two countries will be revived. The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link was part of the broad gauge main route from Kolkata to Siliguri. The other four rail links are Petrapole (India) – Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh) and Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh).
Both sides are working on Agartala and Akhaura rail link which will open next year. Amid the pandemic, a transport air bubble was also opened to facilitate the movement of travellers on both sides, especially of medical travellers. Earlier this year, as part of increasing connectivity via waterways, trial runs on Sonamura – Daudkandi and Daudkandi – Sonamura route was started.
Both PMs will jointly inaugurate a commemorative stamp on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangladesh is celebrating Mujib Borsho, the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who led the freedom movement for the country against Pakistan rule. India’s department of the post has issued 500,000 stamps, 3,0750 first day covers and 25,610 brochures on Bangabandhu.
As part of the increased common connection, both sides will open a Bangabandhu-Bapu digital exhibition. The exhibition will be displayed in New Delhi, followed by Bangladesh, United Nations, and would finally culminate at Kolkata in early 2022. While it will provide details on both the leaders, it will have a 360-degree view of some of the historic locations and a robotic signature of Bangabandhu and Bapu.