India - Bangladesh: Counterbalancing China's Growing Strategic Presence through Mongla Port


India - Bangladesh: Counterbalancing China's Growing Strategic Presence through Mongla Port

India  has expressed interest in operating the Mongla Port in Bangladesh and constructing a new terminal there amid China’s efforts to run the strategically-located port.

India already has transhipment access to both Chittagong and Mongla ports for moving cargo to northeastern states, skipping the 1,650 kilometre chicken's neck corridor. Last month, an Indian delegation from India Ports Global Limited, headed by its managing director Sunil Mukundan, visited Mongla Port to study the operational facilities in detail, ET has learnt. If the negotiations proceed successfully, Mongla will be the third international seaport operation taken up by India after Chabahar Port in Iran and Sittwe in Myanmar, which both are managed by India Portd Global Limited (IPGL). In Sri Lanka, an Indo-Russian joint venture has got management rights of the airport in the vicinity of the  China-managed Hambantota port.

IPGL has been asked to submit a detailed written proposal to the Momngla Port Authority  for consideration.

Mongla Port operates container and bulk carrier vessels at its five jetties. Construction of two more jetties is being planned for handling increased volume of cargo generated thanks to gtransshipment facilites given to India, Nepal and Bhutan.


Mangla port would enable India to counterbalance China

The Mangla  move, if successful, writes Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury (Diplomatic Editor The Economic Times) “will enable New Delhi to counterbalance China's growing strategic presence  in India's immediate neighbourhood and give it management of ports in both western and eastern part of the Indian Ocean Region as the net security provider, according to persons familiar with the development.”

The matter could figure when PM Modi meets PM Sheikh Hasina over the gone weekend. Later this month or early July, the Bangladesh PM plans to visit India on a state visit. Hasina congratulated Modi Tuesday night itself following the BJP-led NDA's third straight victory in Lok Sabha elections.

Hasina, along with leaders from Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, have been invited for the government's swearing in ceremony.

Chinese moves to manage key infrastructure projects in India's immediate neighbourhood is a matter of discomfort for India. Cross-border connectivity projects and business initiatives could  also “figure high when Modi meets his counterparts…”

All Neighbours Article