Need political will to strengthen connectivity: Bangladesh envoy

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Shillong, April 25 (IANS) Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali on Monday said strong political will was needed to strengthen connectivity to boost relations between India and his country.

“We need political will and change of mindset as there are anti-connectivity forces which are constantly raising slogans of insecurity,” Ali said at the two-day Economic Cooperation Dialogue in Eastern South Asia here in Meghalaya.

“Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and India — we are neighbours and we will remain neighbours forever. One can change anything in life but one can’t change the geographic nature of a country,” he added.

The dialogue is being organised by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific and the North Eastern Council (NEC).

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Delegates from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Vietnam are taking part.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma stressed the need to improve connectivity infrastructure to boost relations between India and its neighbouring countries.

He said the international borders should be looked at as catalysts for growth and prosperity.

“The northeast is important for Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and the region is capable of contributing to the growth of the nation. Therefore, there is a need to create border economic zones besides development of inland waterways,” Sangma said.

“We must create border economic zones. The Inland Waterways Authority of India has proposed to develop at least 20 rivers. Out of this, four are connected to Meghalaya which include two from the India-Bangladesh border to Bangladesh,” he said.

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