India-Bangladesh-Myanmar-China Cooperation

December 2, 2014

Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the Energy Affairs Adviser to Bangladesh Prime Minister Skeikh Hasina Wazed, was joined yesterday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of a power plant in India's Tripura state, east of Bangladesh, which will supply power in part to that nation. This is emblematic of a process of explicit discussion of promoting an economic corridor to link India-Bangladesh-Myanmar-China.

Last June, when Sheikh Hasina Wazed visited Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Bangladesh to join his plan to construct a Maritime Silk Road to promote trade and commerce in the region, and the two countries agreed to step up efforts to build the economic corridor linking Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar--termed the "BCIM."

On Nov. 30 Chowdhury briefed reporters, that this corridor concept was discussed during the recently held SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit. The plan is to develop an economic corridor that connects Bangladesh to India, in the east, Myanmar, and China in the north. Chowdhury stressed that the goal is
"to attain significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation. This was also discussed at last week's SAARC summit in Kathmandu... "Under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina, both India and Bangladesh would further come closer through mutual cooperation in connectivity, energy, trade and business sectors."

Today, Chowdhury and Modi will be joined by the Bangladesh Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid. They are attending the opening of the second unit of the 726 MW (2 x 363 MW) power project in Palatana, part of the Indian state of Tripura. Modi will dedicate it to the nation. Tripura borders with southeastern Bangladesh.

India is in the final stage of concluding a deal with Bangladesh for the sale of 100 MW of power from ONGC Tripura Power Company and has started talks for the sale of another 500MW to the neighboring nation by 2016, according to India's news daily, the Financial Express reported yesterday.