A delegation led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday started a four-day tour of Bangladesh by road, covering over 800km, in an effort to connect with people and leaders and build mutually beneficial networks, officials said.
In a press statement, Commissioner and Secretary of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat said that the visit was from November 5 to 8. The delegation, which includes ministers, senior officials and entrepreneurs, would visit Sylhet and Dhaka, among other parts of Bangladesh, after crossing the border at Dawki.
“Meghalaya shares 443 km of border with Bangladesh. Over the years, there has been a fruitful exchange of goods, ideas and culture. Today, the border trade alone is valued at over Rs 630 crore. The state government of Meghalaya hopes to build a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship that spans over multiple sectors with Bangladesh,” the statement said.
Speaking to the press, Sangma said that his first such trip is to Bangladesh, then to Bhutan and then to Myanmar, and from there to Thailand — all in line with India’s Act East policy. “It’s not possible to act being in Shillong, you need to get down to the field and meeting people,” Sangma said.
The press statement said that the Meghalaya government intends to strength its trade and tourism ties with Bangladesh.
“As the gateway to South East Asia, Bangladesh offers us hitherto unexplored avenues of economic exchange ranging from tourism to power,” it said.
“As a rapidly growing market, Bangladesh has been a destination for our exports, including coal, limestone and boulder stone. The government intends to further improve the border trade through the two-existing border haats at Kalaichar and Balat, and to set up new border haats,” it said.