Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K. DoraiswamiBSS

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has said the much-cherished Padma Bridge will help contribute to greater connectivity between the two countries and in the sub-region supporting the BBIN initiative.

“From that perspective, as a country that has long valued the opportunity to increase connectivity across the sub-region, we in India will be delighted,” he told a small group of journalists on Tuesday evening at the High Commission.

He attributed the achievement to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “continuous and consistently courageous decision.”

The high commissioner said she (PM Hasina) was proven correct in her decision to go ahead with this project and they look forward to the blessings of “connectivity, economic progress and easier travel” that will come as a result of this major breakthrough.

“It is a major infrastructural project not just in terms of brick and steel,” Doraiswami said, adding that it is a symbolic connection between the two parts of Bangladesh.

Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the long-cherished Padma Bridge on 25 June. “Congratulations Bangladesh! I congratulate every friend in Bangladesh on this momentous occasion,” the envoy said.

He said the bridge is the connector of more than just business - connector of people, emotions and connector of culture of Bengal.

“So, it’s a great moment for all Bengalis, not just the Bangladeshi people but even Bengalis in India who will join their brothers and sisters in Bangladesh in celebrating this huge achievement of the government and people of Bangladesh,” said the high commissioner.

He said not just Bangladesh and India, Nepal in particular will also have faster access to Bangladesh.

Doraiswami said they were the first country to actually say that they will support this decision including through financial support when the government of Bangladesh decided to go for the mega project alone.

Responding to a question, he said this was a difficult decision that Bangladesh took but it was a “courageous” one and history has proven that the prime minister was correct.

The Indian envoy said the principal purpose of the bridge is to facilitate the easier movement of people as well as goods and service. “I think it will have an important benefit on poverty alleviation programs, on economic activity.”

Responding to a question on BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), he said logically the moment they can finalize the two protocols on movement of cargo vehicles and passenger vehicles, the bridge will naturally lend itself to faster movement of goods.

He said Indian companies are already attracted to invest in Bangladesh and obviously if logistics become easier and cheaper then immediately it makes more sense to be able to do more business in Bangladesh.