Sunday, 19 November, 2017

India, Bangladesh launch cross-border passenger train service

PM Modi flags off Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express with Sheikh Hasina, Mamata Modi, Sheikh Hasina flag off new train service
Howard Terry | 10 November, 2017, 01:01

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina on Thursday jointly launched a new train - Bandhan Express - between Kolkata in West Bengal and Khulna in the neighbouring country.

Rail bridges over river Titas and Bhairabh in Bangladesh were also launched.

Prime Minister Modi during the inaugural run of the train said, "The ties of friendship between India and Bangladesh will further strengthen". "We want to build cooperation in new areas, especially some high-technology areas, that have a deeper connect with the youth in both our societies", Modi had said.

Hasina said, "The train service is a dream come true for people on both sides of the border".

"I have always believed that India must have good relations with its neighboring countries and their leaders".

"I am happy to note that we are making progresses in that direction step by step".

Hasina said there has been an excellent relationship between Bangladesh and India and continuation of such ties is very much essential.

"On this important day, I'm extremely happy to join you to formally launch the end-to-end immigration and customs of Dhaka-Kolkata Maitree Express and flagging off Khulna-Kolkata Bandhan Express service". "We feel proud to be a trusted partner for development projects in Bangladesh", he said.

New bus and train services had been announced during Hasina's visit to India in April.

She invited Modi, Mamata and Sushma to visit Bangladesh. "Our two countries are also working to re-open our pre-1965 rail links for cargo transport between Bangladesh and India".

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM's Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman, PM's Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Indian High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and secretaries concerned were present at Ganobhaban. "I hope this fine display of mutuality of our relationship will further strengthen our bilateral relations", she added.

The Bandhan Express will start ferrying passengers from November 16 onwards.

"Bangladesh is one of India's best friend in the world".

The Bandhan Express is scheduled to ply the route every Thursday.

The bridge over the Titas was built by Indian company Gammon-Flcl Consortium.

The construction of the 984-meter long and seven-meter wide Bhairab Railway Bridge started on December 25, 2013 and ended last month, the Daily Star reported.

Apart from Kolkata and Khulna, there will be two stops - Petrapole (in India) for around 10 minutes and Benapole (in Bangladesh) for around 15 minutes.

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