India hands over 20 locomotives to Bangladesh

01 May 2023

In a significant development aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship, the virtual flagging off of 20 broad gauge (BG) locomotives to Bangladesh took place today in a ceremony held at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi. The Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, officiated the event, while the Minister of Railway of Bangladesh, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan joined virtually. The ceremony was attended by AK Lahoti, Chairman & CEO of the Railway Board, board members, senior officials of the Railway Board, and delegates from Bangladesh.

These diesel locomotives, provided as grant assistance from the Government of India, fulfill a crucial commitment made during the visit of the Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, to India in October 2019. To meet the requirements of Bangladesh Railway, the Indian side has made suitable modifications to the locomotives. These locomotives will play a vital role in managing the growing volume of passenger and freight train operations in Bangladesh.

Speaking at the event, Vaishnaw emphasised the multifaceted nature of India's relationship with Bangladesh, encompassing civilisation, culture, society, and economics. Both countries' prime ministers are actively involved in enhancing bilateral relations across various sectors, including social, economic, and political domains. Indian Railways also contribute significantly to improving and strengthening rail connectivity between the two countries, facilitating trade. Currently, five Broad Gauge connectivity routes are operational: Geda-Darsana, Benapol-Petrapol, Singhabad-Rohanpur, Radhikapur-Birol, and Haldibari-Chilahati. Furthermore, the construction of two additional cross-border rail connectivity, namely Akhaura-Agartala and Mahihasan-Shahbazpur, is progressing well and is expected to be completed and commissioned soon.

Addressing the virtual gathering, the Minister of Railway, Bangladesh, Md. Nurul Islam Sujan expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for their support. He acknowledged that India had previously provided 10 locomotives to Bangladesh as a grant in June 2020 and expressed heartfelt appreciation for the provision of broad-gauge locomotives. These locomotives will contribute to the improvement of both goods and passenger trains in Bangladesh. Sujan expressed hope for further collaboration in the railway sector between the two countries, anticipating its continuous growth.