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‘India keen to develop ports in Africa, Bangladesh, Iran’

Pursuing its pro-active maritime policy, the government has expressed keenness to develop ports for various countries including Africa, Bangladesh and Iran.

“During the recent summit of heads of African nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj expressed desire that India can join hands with various African nations for building roads and ports. My ministry will take up such works once the responsibility is given to us,” Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Monday.

Talking to journalists at Foreign Correspondents Club here, the minister said the agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal to work on mutual infrastructure development and cooperation is unique and has gone down “very well”.

Gadkari also said the Modi government has undertaken major legislative reforms in last two years towards codification, rationalisation and simplification of maritime statutes.

India, he said, has already taken preliminary steps to construct a deep water port at Payra in south western Bangladesh.

This port and opening up of Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh to bilateral commerce will give immense boost to relations between two countries, he said.

The minister said a high-level delegation of his ministry will visit Bangladesh to work out details for the Payra port, which would be closer to Indian coastline too.

On June 6, 2015, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka, India and Bangladesh inked the agreement on Coastal Shipping for two-way trade through ports and also had signed an MoU for use of Chittagong and Mongla ports for movement of goods to and from India.

The agreements seek to reduce not only the time in shipping goods but also costs.

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