Effective and fast-track implementation of decisions taken by the governments of India and Bangladesh has resulted in enhancement of trade and investment between the two nations, said Veena Sikri, Former Ambassador of India to Bangladesh, at a FICCI seminar on ‘Doing Business with Bangladesh’.
The seminar was organised on the occasion of the visit of Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, which was followed by B2B meetings with the high-powered Bangladeshi business delegation accompanying the Prime Minister. The delegation comprised businessmen representing various sectors such as automobiles, cement, insurance & banking, readymade garments, shipping, IT and ITes, food and beverages, jute, power, renewable energy, real estate, electronic & print media, packaging, poultry, education, health and pharma, chemicals and telecommunication.
Speaking about the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sikri said that India and Bangladesh share a long border and the areas surrounding the borders should be developed as “zones of prosperity”. She added that the relationship between India and Bangladesh has reached a historic high and this should be further strengthened by engaging in mutually beneficial initiatives.
Sikri said that the issue of connectivity was vital and businesses on the two sides should take advantage of the increased connectivity. Besides financial connectivity, knowledge connectivity needed to be strengthened. She added that IT must be leveraged to create new ties and enhance the existing systems.
Abdul Matlub Ahmad, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), who is leading the business delegation from Bangladesh, said that the country was on a sound economic footing with forex reserves of $32 billion. The Government of Bangladesh has decided to retain $25 billion and release the rest for investments overseas with India emerging as a favoured destination.
Ahmad said that the Bangladeshi delegation was looking forward to B2B meetings with its Indian counterparts. He urged the business community on both sides to utilise this platform to bring to the fore their concerns and assured solutions would be fast-tracked.