India keen to develop strategically important deep sea port in Bangladesh


In its bid to strengthen bilateral relations with Bangladesh, India is keen to partner with Dhaka in developing a deep water port called Payra. The deep seaport is on the south-western corner of Bangladesh, near Chittagong and is closer to the Indian coastline.

Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday said, "We are working on the details of the project with our Bangladeshi counterparts and there's a strong chance that India will be chosen to develop the port." Already India has offered to to design, fund and build the port all on its own, though the total size of investment required for this is yet to assessed. Dhaka has already invited proposals for this project.

"Since this is a strategically important project, the final call on the investment will have to be taken by the Ministry of External Affairs as is in case of Chabahar port in Iran. India won't wish a country like China to develop a port just next to our bordering coastline," said a shipping ministry official.

Sources said though the project may not be financially viable, but New Delhi would go ahead to undertake work to improve relation with Dhaka further. It's learnt that besides India, China, some middle-eastern and European countries too want to invest in the project.

The Payra port has gathered steam only since 2014, with a Payra Seaport Authority being set up under the Chittagong administrative authority.

The Bangladeshi government has decided the port will be built on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. The port will take over seven years to build, but it's not just the port, a deep channel would have to be cut through the heavily silted port to allow big vessels to come through. The Chittagong port is so heavily silted that only small vessels, taking advantage of incoming and outgoing tides, can come in at present.

Source: TOI

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