In what seems to be a big push to Bhutan’s bilateral and transit trade, India has decided to open new trade routes in Nagarkata (West Bengal), Agartala (Tripura) and Jogighopa and Pandu (riverine ports, both in Assam); all of them to benefit Bhutan’s exports in the region
In what seems to be a big push to Bhutan’s bilateral and transit trade, India has decided to open new trade routes in Nagarkata (West Bengal), Agartala (Tripura) and Jogighopa and Pandu (riverine ports, both in Assam); all of them to benefit Bhutan’s exports in the region.
All the new routes, which will be operational in a few weeks, are designed to facilitate Bhutan’s trade with India and Bangladesh. With new routes coming up, Bhutan’s exports will not only be seamless but also cost-effective.
Nagarkata in West Bengal, currently a Seasonal Land Custom Station (SLM) dedicated to restricted only to a few Bhutanese export commodities to Bangladesh, will now be a Permanent Custom Station (LCM) without any restriction on exported commodities. This station will allow Bhutan’s exports, mainly boulders and riverbed materials, to Bangladesh.
Boulders and riverbed materials are one of the most exported commodities for Bhutan besides electricity.
Other new transit routes that would push Bhutan’s trade with Bangladesh include Agartala in Tripura and two riverine ports in Assam at Jogighopa and Pandu, both on India’s National Waterways 2 along the Brahmaputra river.
“All of these developments are aimed at benefiting Bhutanese traders by increasing logistical efficiency in terms of both time and costs,” India said on Thursday in a statement released by its embassy in Bhutan.
The developments are a result of an earlier visit of the Indian Railway, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal to Bhutan in February this year, said the statement.
“Bhutan is India’s closest partner and friend and India’s timely response is a reflection of the special bonds of trust and understanding between India and Bhutan that have existed over decades,” the embassy said in a press release.
Reacting to the development, a senior and prominent Bhutanese journalist, Tenzing Lamsang tweeted, “The biggest advantage India has in the South Asian region is offering connectivity to its neighbors. It doesn’t cost much but leads to a lot of mutual benefit and goodwill.”
Earlier in October this year, India responded positively to a request by the Bhutanese government for decongesting the Jaigaon-Phuentsholing route by opening another crossing route at Torsha Tea garden (India) -Ahllay in Bhutan. The Jaigaon-Phuentsholing route has seen major disruption due to several restrictions that were placed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
India accounts for around 87 percent of the total Bhutanese export, according to the data available on the Indian embassy’s website. With new routes coming up, Bhutan’s exports are likely to be diversified significantly.