Delhi, Dhaka cement power ties with N-deal

Wednesday 18th May 2016 06:25 EDT

NEW DELHI: India has concluded a nuclear agreement with Bangladesh in a sign that the bilateral neighbourhood relationship is becoming special. The core of the new engagement is all 21st century - energy, connectivity, security. “We are politically aligned, security sensitive and economic partners,” said a top source in India. The nuclear agreement is a three-document package that has been negotiated between the MEA and the Bangladesh department of science and technology over the past few months. But this is only a part of the bigger play the two countries are engaged in.

After PM Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a 100 MW power transmission line from Palatana to Bangladesh, India is now in the works to upgrade it to 500 MW. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who was on a visit to Dhaka lately, has promised to send diesel to Bangladesh from West Bengal.

India wishes to transport LPG and LNG to the north eastern states through Bangladesh. New Delhi has offered Dhaka a stake in this, letting them share LPG and LNG as per their needs, even as they allow transit of energy to Tripura. India told the neighbour that it wants to generate power in the northeast and have it pass through Bangladesh, offering them an "offtake" that allows them to take power for their own use from the transmission line.

Indian companies BHEL, Reliance, Shapoorji Pallonji, and Adani, have bid to build power plants in Bangladesh. The Indian nuclear deal will equip and train Bangladesh to import their first nuclear power plant from Russia. Basically, once all these projects kick in, Bangladesh could be well on its way to becoming a middle-income country in a decade. The comfort factor for both countries is the fact that both land and maritime boundaries are now clearly demarcated. In this case, certainly, better fences have made better neighbours.

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