Dhaka – Bangladesh and India have restored a railway connection more than five decades after it was suspended because of a war.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Thursday flagged off the Bandhan Express to be run between south-western Bangladeshi city of Khulna and the capital of Indian state of West Bengal Kolkata through a video conferencing.
The British era train service on the route was suspended in 1965 when Indian and Pakistan was in a war with Bangladesh was eastern wing of Pakistan. Bangladesh fought a war six year later and liberated from Pakistan in 1971.
The resumption of the train connection was among the 22 agreements Bangladesh and Indian signed in April this year to improve people-to people contact between the two next-door neighbours.
Bangladesh and India has earlier launched a number of bus and train services.
On Thursday, Hasina and Modi also inaugurated two new railway bridges over the rivers Bhairab and Titas in north-eastern Bangladesh. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was connected through video conferencing at the flag-off event in Kolkata.
This train service is a dream come true for people on both sides of the border, said Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“We want to cooperate with India and other countries in the immediate neighbourhood for creating an area of peace in South Asia,” she said.
Bangladesh values such engagements so “we can live as good neighbours and pursue constructive policies for the benefit of our people”.
Indian Prime Minister Modi said, India takes pride in being a reliable partner in Bangladesh’s development.
He said development and connectivity are linked with each other and the ties between India and Bangladesh, particularly between West Bengal and Bangladesh, are decades old.