India, Bangladesh launches new train service
A number of connectivity projects, including a new passenger train service between Kolkata and Khulna, were launched by PM Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, that will help reduce the travel time by three hours.
- A train service existed between Kolkata and Khulna until the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war.
- The fully air-conditioned ‘Bandhan Express’ – ‘Bandhan’ means ‘bond’ in English – will cover the 172 km distance between Kolkata and Khulna within four and half hours.
- The train is reviving a historic route that fell into disuse after the Partition.
- These projects also include the second Bhairab and Titas railway bridges built at the cost of $100 million; and the International Rail Passenger Terminus at Chitpur in Kolkata.
- The inauguration of the international passenger terminus will benefit passengers of the Kolkata-Dhaka Maitri Express and Kolkata-Khulna Bandhan Express. It will not only help them in customs and immigration but also save three hours of their travel time
- Not just a new train, new immigration systems have been put in place to speed up the process. Earlier, passengers would have to get off the train with their luggage at the border station, walk through Customs and immigration and board the train again.
- Now, an end-to-end Immigration and customs system is in place at station of origin and destination only.
- Now, Maitree will take the same route as Bandhan, reducing the travel time to about 8 hours. Maitree runs houseful most days. It has 456 seats, the same as Bandhan.
India & Bangladesh relation
- India is Bangladesh’s most important neighbor. Geographic, cultural, historic, and commercial ties are strong, and both countries recognize the importance of good relations.
- During and immediately after Bangladesh’s struggle for independence from Pakistan in 1971, India assisted refugees from East Pakistan, intervened militarily to help bring about the independence of Bangladesh, and furnished relief and reconstruction aid.
- Although India played a major role in the establishment of an independent Bangladesh on April 17, 1971.
- New Delhi’s relations with Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, were neither close nor free from dispute. In 1975 Bangladesh began to move away from the linguistic nadonalism that had marked its liberation struggle and linked it to India’s West Bengal state. Instead. Dhaka stressed Islam as the binding force in Bangladeshi nationalism.