Tricky bargain

Dhaka wants to use Indian territory to import power

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

bangladesh has sought the use of Indian territory to import power from Nepal and Bhutan. The demand was tabled during the recent negotiations on India-Bangladesh-Myanmar gas pipeline, held at Yangoon, Myanmar. Bangladesh is likely to get transit fee worth millions of dollars as well as the gas from the pipeline.

Although no decision over the demand was taken during the meet, Union minister for petroleum, natural gas and panchayati raj, Mani Sankar Aiyar, and Bangladesh state minister for energy and mineral resources, AKM Mosharraf Hossain, decided to hold talks on the issue on the sidelines of the next summit of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation, to be held in Dhaka. In a joint press statement, the two sides said: "With regard to Bangladesh's request for the provision of electricity facilities from Nepal and Bhutan to Bangladesh, the Indian minister agreed that the Government of India would examine positively any fresh proposals received from Bangladesh in regard to examining required facilities."

A senior official at the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi said Dhaka wants the tri-nation gas pipeline to be viewed in the larger perspective of overall regional cooperaton in the sector of energy and other resources. Its demand should be understood in this light. "I don't think it is a condition [for allowing the pipeline's transit through Bangladesh]. It should be taken in a friendly gesture." Bangladesh also raised the issue of rectifying trade imbalances between the two countries at the Yangoon meet. In this connection, the statement says: "...the Indian minister agreed with the need to expand bilateral trade between the two countries in order to bridge the trade gap that exists at present. Projects such as proposed at the trilateral conference will contribute to this objective."

The three nations have formed a technical committee on the gas pipeline issue. The committee will submit its recommendations by March 2005.

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