The third episode of the Nepal-Bangladesh Business Forum (NBBF) is going to be held in Kathmandu Thursday to promote and strengthen bilateral economic cooperation.
It is a joint initiative of Nepal-based think tank, the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA), and the Bangladesh Embassy in Kathmandu.
Based on the successes of the previous two gatherings, AIDIA says they are hosting the ‘3rd Nepal-Bangladesh Business Forum’ with the theme ‘Navigating the Next Phase of Socioeconomic Cooperation’.
It focuses on two major issues - strengthening media cooperation and expanding multimodal connectivity, according to a report by bdnews24.com.
“It will promote the better understanding of the matters of mutual bilateral concern and there are ample of such common concerns between Nepal and Bangladesh,” said Sunil KC, AIDIA chief.
He said Bangladesh has met all the criteria to graduate from the LDC while Nepal is still an LDC.
“So Nepal can learn from the impressive economic growth of Bangladesh. It is also imperative for both countries to share the respective strategies planning for graduation, smooth transition and tackling possible post-graduation challenges.”
On media cooperation, he said, it is vital for fostering trade and economic relations, strengthening transport and energy connectivity, promoting tourism, educational collaboration and people-to-people contact, enhancing bilateral cooperation in common platforms like SAARC, BIMSTEC, and BBIN, among others.
The Nepal’s state-run Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) and Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) recently agreed for regular exchange of news and information to further the bilateral relations.
“Similar partnership amid the media houses of both countries should be promoted. Importantly, interaction and exchanges of visit of the journalist from both side is paramount for in-depth and on-the-spot media coverage,” he said.
Nepal and Bangladesh are separated by a 27-km-wide strip of Indian territory - the Siliguri Corridor.
“Enhancing connectivity through efficient transport infrastructure is essential to promote trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contact,” Sunil said.
“It seems that both the government have long acknowledged the fact and officially signed the Trade and Transit Agreement.”
For instance, he said, agreement allows Nepal to use six transit points including Mongla and Chittagong ports of Bangladesh; however, both countries have not been able to materialize all the agreements for mutual economic benefits.
“Thoroughly examining the existing agreement on transit and connectivity, analyzing the financial volume for infrastructure development and economic feasibility, inspecting the strategic significance and effectively implementing is essential now.”
Given the geographic situation, he also said, it is also “truly necessary for Nepal and Bangladesh to take the confidence of India.”
The 3rd NBBF intends to hold the intense discourse involving policymakers and government officials, business executives, media practitioners, scholars, academics among others, Sunil KC added.
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