India and Bangladesh are set to strengthen its friendship with the upcoming operationalisation of the India-Bangladesh friendship bridge — known as Maitri Setu.
This bridge will be accessible after the inauguration of the third integrated check post (ICP) at Sabroom in Tripura.
According to reports, the inauguration of the third ICP at Sabroom is likely to be carried out virtually from New Delhi during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's planned visit to India at the beginning of September.
Back in March 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina jointly inaugurated the 1.9-km-long Maitri Setu bridge.
This bridge has been constructed over the Feni River, which serves as the boundary between Tripura State in India and Bangladesh.
Feni originates in the south district of the state which passes through Sabroom town on the Indian side, and meets the Bay of Bengal, after it flows into Bangladesh.
This bridge has significantly reduced the distance between Sabroom and the Chittagong port (Bangladesh), now only 111 km apart.
The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd undertook the construction of the bridge at a cost of Rs 133 crore.
According to Prime Minister Modi, this bridge will strengthen India's cordial relations with Bangladesh and enhance trade ties, ultimately leading to further progress in northeastern India.
“The project will enhance people-to-people contact and open up scope for deeper economic and trade ties,” the Prime Minister said.
However, the bridge, which connected Bangladesh’s Chittagong port and India’s Tripura, was not opened to traffic despite the inauguration.
The establishment of the third ICP will pave the way for its public use and increased trade between South East Asia and northeast India.
There are currently two ICPs in Bangladesh and India, namely Akhaura-Agartala and Srimantapur-Sonamura. These ICPs serve as points of travel facilitation for the people of both countries.
India and Bangladesh have been strengthening connectivity through cross-border railway links, riverine waterway systems, and port utilisation for trans-shipment.
As per recent reports, the Bangladesh government has approved access to two of its major ports and four transportation routes for the movement of goods in Tripura and other northeastern Indian states.
A multi-modal transit hub is also being developed in Sabroom to improve transportation of goods to the port. This hub will have both road and rail connectivity, allowing for faster transportation options.
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