Bangladesh wants to activate a decades-old transit treaty which, if approved, will end land-locked Nepal's dependence on Indian ports for export of goods to third countries.
Bangladesh has sent a draft deal to Nepal to activate a 1976 transit agreement which will allow Nepal to use Mongla port for exports of goods. The agreement also allow goods-laden trucks and trains to enter each others' territory, according to Bangladeshi media reports.
Both the governments of Bangladesh and Nepal are said to be ready to sign the deal.
A report that appeared in bdnews24.com quoted Bangladeshi officials as saying that India has given positive indications that it will give Nepal the long awaited approval on using a patch of territory as transit for transporting goods to Bangladesh.
The approval is likely to coincide with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India slated for the second week of January.
"If the deal is inked, Nepalese trucks will be able to reach Mongla port through Burimari border post in Bangladesh crossing Indian territories," the deputy secretary of Bangladesh's communications ministry, Md yousuf Ali told the news portal, "In the same way, Bangladeshi trucks and trains will reach Nepal via India."
Delhi in September this year assured Bangladesh of providing transit facilities to reach both Nepal and Bhutan through Indian territories, the report added
Nepal and Bangladesh had in 1976 signed transit agreement to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
But India didn't gave its approval to use its territory, thus making the treaty defunct.
Bangladeshi officials say that the purpose of the transit deal was to increase the volume of trade between Bangladesh and Nepal.
Bangladesh has a huge trade deficit with Nepal and the move also seems to be the country's effort to reduce it.
Bangladesh's exports to Nepal were worth only US$ 8.1 million against imports from Nepal amounting to $69 million in fiscal 2008-09. nepalnews.com