Bangladesh Agrees to Allow Nepal to Use Saidpur Airport
Bangladesh – Bangladesh has agreed to allow Nepal to use its Saidpur Airport as part of strengthening trade and connectivity between the two neighboring countries, reports news agency UNB.
Welcoming Nepal’s proposal, Bangladesh says a technical expert committee will now look into what types of flights can be operated between Nepal and Bangladesh through Saidpur Airport.
“We’re expanding the airport. Currently, 12-14 flights go to Saidpur Airport (from Dhaka). So, people (who will be coming from Nepal) can come to Dhaka easily,” foreign minister AK Abdul Momen told newsmen while briefing on the outcome of the bilateral talks between the two countries on Tuesday.
Earlier, Momen had a meeting with his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali at state guesthouse Meghna and discussed how the two countries can enhance trade, investment, and connectivity, including the use of seaports.
The airport situated on 136.59 acres of land began its operation as a domestic airport in 1979. Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) manages the Saidpur Airport, it says.
This Airport is located two km off Saidpur town and 350 km off Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Novoair, and US-Bangla Airlines are presently operating their passenger flights from and to Saidpur Airport, CAAB said.
Talking to the newsmen, Nepal foreign minister Pradeep Kumar said they discussed how the two countries can develop connectivity, transit, transport, and power sector cooperation. “We’ll form a task force that will discuss the ways to develop trade and connectivity.”
He said Bangladesh has recently permitted Indian company GMR to invest in hydropower in Nepal that will provide 500 MW of power from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian company GMR group.
“It’ll open a new chapter in power sector cooperation,” he said adding that Nepal has made every arrangement to facilitate smooth construction of the mega project.
Bangladesh and Nepal signed an MoU on power cooperation last year.
Responding to a UNB question, the Nepalese foreign minister said the two countries were exploring to sign a preferential trade agreement (PTA).
“Draft of the PTA is under discussion. We hope we’ll finalize it. The bilateral agreement on the protection of investment is also on the table. We’re expecting that we’ll do it at the earliest,” minister Pradeep Kumar said adding that it is very important to protect the foreign investment.
Foreign minister Momen said they have discussed connectivity, tourism, climate and Rohingya issues and ways to remove trade barriers especially non-tariff barriers.
State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam addresses as the chief guest at a discussion on at BIISS auditorium, Dhaka on 18 February 2020. Photo: PID two ministers expressed satisfaction over the discussion and said both countries are connected well on many fronts.
Later, the Nepal foreign minister attended a discussion on “Bangladesh-Nepal Relations: Prospects for Sub-regional Cooperation” at BIISS auditorium in the capital. He delivered the keynote speech there.
State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam spoke as the chief guest at the event organized by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and highlighted various aspects of the bilateral relations.
BIISS chairman ambassador M Fazlul Karim also spoke at the event.
Speaking on the occasion, the Nepalese foreign minister laid emphasis on engaging more proactively between the two countries to tap the potential of the two countries.
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