September 28, 2023

Enhancing Bilateral Ties: India and Bhutan Explore Railway Link between Kokrajhar and Gelephu

India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, has shed light on the ongoing discussions between India and Bhutan regarding the establishment of a railway link connecting Kokrajhar in Assam to Gelephu in Bhutan. This potential railway connection is anticipated to have a transformative impact on trade and tourism relations between the two neighboring countries.

In a recent address, Minister Jaishankar underscored the crucial role of fortified border infrastructure and improved connectivity. He highlighted the persistent efforts of the Indian government in these areas since 2014, reiterating the Modi Government’s commitment to fostering development in border regions to facilitate seamless trade and connectivity.

Central to the dialogue is the ambitious proposition of a railway link between Gelephu and Kokrajhar, situated on the border between Assam and Bhutan. Beyond its potential to bolster trade ties, this railway link holds the promise of elevating tourism interactions between the two nations.

Amid the discussions, Minister Jaishankar also acknowledged the complexities posed by the internal dynamics in Myanmar, which have cast a shadow on multiple infrastructure undertakings, including the trilateral highway project involving India, Myanmar, and Thailand. Envisioned as a linchpin for regional connectivity, the trilateral highway project has encountered setbacks due to the challenges stemming from Myanmar’s internal situation.

Jaishankar underscored the impact of this turmoil on ongoing infrastructure projects, particularly on the portion of the trilateral highway that is still under construction, alongside the building of 69 bridges.

Shifting the focus to India’s connectivity endeavors with Bangladesh, the Minister emphasized the economic prospects of activating the Chattogram and Mongla ports in Bangladesh. This strategic move holds the potential to significantly contribute to the economic growth of India’s Northeastern states and West Bengal.

As these collaborative initiatives take shape, the region anticipates their far-reaching influence on the socio-economic landscape. The railway link proposition and other connectivity efforts are poised to not only strengthen ties between India and Bhutan but also reshape the broader regional dynamics, potentially fostering greater economic cooperation and cultural exchange.