Japan has proposed developing an industrial hub in Bangladesh with supply chains to the landlocked northeastern states of India, and to Nepal and Bhutan.
Tokyo is already constructing a deep water port at Matarbai, about one hundred kilometers from the Bangladesh Tripura border,
It can be a win-win plan for India and Bangladesh,” Hiroshi Suzuki, Japan’s ambassador to India, said on Tuesday, 11 April , citing the industrial hub proposal at a meeting of Indian, Bangladeshi and Japanese officials in Agartala, the Tripura state capital. The deep seaport was likely to become operational by 2027 and would be a key to building an industrial hub connecting the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka to landlocked areas of North eastern India.
The proposal was mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during his official visit to Delhi last month, He proposed the idea of a new industrial hub for Bay of Bengal and North East India that could bolster development in the impoverished region of 300 million people. After Kishida’s visit, Japanese government approved 1.27 billion US dollars in funding to Bangladesh for three infrastructure projects – including a new commercial port in the Matarbari area with links to adjacent landlocked Indian states, including Tripura, and wider international markets. The envisaged Matarbari project would be Bangladesh’s first deep-sea port capable of hosting large vessels.
Minister for North east G Kishan Reddy welcomed the Japanese initiative at the meeting. Bangladeshi minister of state for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam said it would boost Indian-Bangladeshi trade and help bring in Japanese and other foreign investment. Tripura state is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the proposed seaport, and could prove a gateway for regional exporters, India and Japan have jointly developed infrastructure projects across Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Africa as an alternative to China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in order to counter spreading Chinese influence. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit Japan from April 25-28 at Kishida’s invitation, a government statement said.