December 15, 2023
DHAKA – A meeting between the shipping secretaries of Bangladesh and India is scheduled to begin in a Dhaka hotel on December 20.
On the day before, meetings of an intergovernmental committee and standing committee under a Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade will also be held.
Md Mustafa Kamal, senior secretary to Bangladesh’s shipping ministry, and TK Ramachandran, secretary to the Indian ports, shipping and waterways ministry, will lead the respective sides.
This information was shared at an inter-ministerial meeting on the upcoming events at the shipping ministry yesterday.
Bangladesh has 31 agendas to place at the meetings, including incorporation of provision for using water routes in visa processes, while India 31, including enhancing river connectivity, said sources at the ministry.
There are currently 12 ports of call between the two countries.
A protocol was signed in 1972 over the mutually beneficial use of waterways for passage of goods under terms mutually agreed upon.
It was last renewed in 2015 for five years with a provision for automatic renewal for a further five years.
Another protocol exists specifying routes to be used.
The standing committee on the protocol and the shipping secretary-level talks are institutional arrangements to make the protocol more effective.
During discussions at such meetings in October 2018 in New Delhi and in December 2019 in Dhaka, key decisions were taken on the extension of protocol routes, inclusion of new routes, and declaration of new ports of call.