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India, Bangladesh agree to extend crucial Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route

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NEW DELHI : India and Bangladesh have agreed to extend Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and declare Safardighi in West Bengal as the new port of call under Protocol on Inland Water Transit & Trade (PIWT&T), an official statement said on Friday.

According to the statement, three high-level talks between India and Bangladesh, including shipping secretary-level talks held during 22nd meeting of standing committee under PIWT&T and the 3rd meeting of inter-governmental committee on use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for to-and-fro movement of goods, successfully concluded in Dhaka.

“Bangladesh agreed to extend IBP route and declare Safardighi as new port of call under PIWT&T. Both sides agreed to form a technical team immediately to study inclusion of Chandpur-Chittagong stretch as IBP route under PIWT&T,” the statements said.

Issues like easing visa issuance, shore-leave facility and repatriation for seafarers were deliberated upon, it added.

According to the statement, Bangladesh agreed to form a joint committee to implement a common Automatic Identification System (AIS) on the IBP route for better vessel navigation and tracking.

Bangladesh agreed to include Mongla-Jamtola stretch for passenger and cruise vessels to visit the Sunderbans area in Bangladesh, it added.

The statement said both sides agreed to examine inclusion of Payra sea port in the agreement on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports (ACMP) for movement of goods between the two countries.

Both countries shared the water routes and coastal routes for transportation of the cargo and passengers on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and Coastal routes.

These routes are important since they provide alternative connectivity to the northeast through Bangladesh.

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