High Commission of India
Welcome Remarks by High Commissioner of India, Smt. Riva Ganguly Das at the Seminar on “Scope for enhancing Indo-Bangla Bilateral Trade in light of Indian National Budget 2020”[Venue: Westin Hotel ]
Mr. Md. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Members from Industry and Chambers of Commerce
Friends from Media
Ladies & Gentlemen
1. I am happy to welcome all of you to the Seminar on “Scope for enhancing Indo-Bangla Bilateral Trade in light of Indian National Budget 2020” jointly organized by the India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry and High Commission of India.
2. India-Bangladesh relationship is based on history, language, secularism and several other commonalities. Our unique friendship is forged in Liberation War of Bangladesh. It is not an exaggeration to say that very few countries in the world share such fraternal ties as that of ours. Our neighborhood policy follows our Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’, which implies that we prosper together. The Government of India accords top priority to relations with Bangladesh. For us, it is neighborhood first, and in the neighborhood, it is Bangladesh first.
3. Friends, as we are all aware, economic growth in Bangladesh have been remarkable with the country registering an average GDP growth of over 7% plus per annum in the last few years. With GDP growth rate of 8.13% in the last fiscal year and having already met the criteria to graduate from the LDC status, Bangladesh is poised to become a middle income country by 2021 and a developed nation by 2041.
4. As in any modern economy, Chambers of Commerce and Industry play a critical role in connecting business communities and creating a vibrant environment to facilitate the sustained economic growth. India Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce started its journey in 2007 and since then has been instrumental in enhancing B2B connections between our 2 countries and has emerged as a strong voice for facilitating and promoting bilateral trade.
5. Our bilateral trade has registered a significant increase in the last ten years, and has crossed the USD 10 billion milestone in 2018-19. India has also extended to Bangladesh duty-free quota-free access to its market of 1.3 billion people. I am happy to note that Bangladesh’s exports to India, particularly of the readymade garments, are seeing substantial growth. And at this juncture we should focus on diversifying our basket of trade goods for mutual benefits.
6. Total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from India to Bangladesh currently stands at around USD 570 million. Registered Indian investments with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority that are in the pipeline are around USD 3 billion dollars. With the operationalization of the Indian Economic Zones in Mongla and Mirsarai, greater Indian investment is expected to flow into Bangladesh.
7. Friends, in the last few years, close to 90 agreements including in high-tech areas, such as space, IT, electronics, cyber security and civil nuclear energy have been signed between India and Bangladesh and the Prime Ministers have inaugurated 16 development cooperation projects, including construction of Bhairab and Titas bridges; additional supply of 660 MW electricity, Akhaura-Agartala rail line.
8. As our engagements grow, so will our conversations. Today’s event on the Indian Budget 2020-21, which will no doubt open more business and trade links between India and Bangladesh will I am certain, act as an apt platform for encouraging relevant and productive discussions. The High Commission of India is looking forward to working together with IBCCI to organize such engaging discussions in the future. I look forward to hear the discussions today.