New Delhi (NVI): Ten Broad Gauge (BG) locomotives were virtually flagged off to Bangladesh today that will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The locomotives were flagged off in a handing over ceremony by External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar and the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
MEA said that the handing over of these locomotives, under grant assistance from the Government of India, fulfills an important commitment made during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India, in October 2019.
“In keeping with the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the locomotives have been suitably modified by the Indian side. These locomotives will help handle the increasing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a release.
Speaking on the occasion, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar highlighted the depth of time tested India-Bangladesh ties, based on mutual trust and respect. He expressed his happiness that the COVID pandemic had not slowed down the pace of bilateral cooperation and conveyed that he looked forward to more such milestones in the ongoing historic Mujib Barsho (Mujib Year).
The government of Bangladesh has announced the commemoration of 2020–2021 as the Mujib Year on the occasion of the centennial birth anniversary of the founding leader of the country, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
On the occasion, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal also underscored the significance of railway cooperation in enhancing bilateral trade and connectivity and in further boosting the economic partnership between the two countries.
India and Bangladesh have stepped up their rail cooperation in mitigating the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic recently, as trade via land border faced disruptions.
“Rail as a cost effective and environmental friendly solution, has helped in transporting essential commodities across the border. Both sides saw the highest ever exchange of freight trains in the month of June. A total of 103 freight trains were utilized for carrying essential commodities and raw materials,” MEA said.
Recently, parcel and container train services have also commenced between India and Bangladesh. This is expected to significantly enhance the scope of bilateral trade, the Ministry said.
Also present on the occasion were Minister of State for Railways, Suresh Angadi. From the Bangladesh side, Minister of Railway, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Abul Kalam Abdul Momen received the locomotives on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh.