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Narendra Modi, Sheikh Hasina to launch Indo-Bangla train

4 November 2017, 11:36:00

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina will flag off a new Indo-Bangla train next week, strengthening bilateral ties and communication.

The commercial service between Kolkata and Khulna, the third-largest city of Bangladesh, will roll out after Modi and Hasina flags it off through a special video conference on November 9.

The second passenger service — after Kolkata-Dhaka Maitri Express — between the two neighbours was announced during Hasina’s last Delhi visit in April. Source: hindustan times

Modi, Hasina and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had launched the opening of the route, but the actual passenger service was planned for a later date.

Sources in the South Block told HT that a programme has been planned to run the passenger train on November 9.

The two countries are keen to expand their communications and several other aspects of their bilateral ties despite little movement on the Teesta accord due to resistance from West Bengal government.

New Delhi and Dhaka also want to reopen some of the old, British-era road and rail communication links that were once vital for undivided India but were snapped after partition and the 1965 war against Pakistan.

While there are two roads and rail links between Dhaka and Kolkata, tenders have been floated to connect Agartala with Akhaura, giving the landlocked northeast easier access to ports of Bangladesh. Rail link between Dhaka and Agartala will also significantly cut down travel time.

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