Japan will be focusing on the development of Matarbari Port in Bangladesh as part of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s new ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ plan. It will be part of Tokyo’s larger infrastructure development efforts in the Bay of Bengal and Northeast India with a focus on “multilayer connectivity” as laid out in the plan.

The deep seaport, located in Cox’s Bazar district, is being developed with the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and is expected to reduce pressure on Chittagong port while catering to the future needs of Bangladesh and India’s Northeast.

In his speech during his visit to Delhi earlier this month, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated, “Viewing Bangladesh and other areas to the south as a single economic zone, we will promote the Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh to foster the growth of the entire region.”

Japan plans to hold conferences involving the governments of the Northeastern Region of India and Bangladesh as well as the private sector to promote economic growth and attract Japanese companies’ interest in the region. Tokyo’s efforts also include the development of roads in Assam, Mizoram, and Tripura, which will connect to Japanese-assisted projects in Bangladesh.

The development of an industrial value chain connecting the Bay of Bengal and the North-Eastern region of India is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the region and beyond. As the leading country in the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), Japan has been working closely with India to support the development of the landlocked Northeastern region through the Japan-India Act East Forum.

The act east forum was established in 2017 with the aim for the development of the Northeastern region of India and promoting connectivity within this region and between this region and Southeast Asia. The forum reflects the synergy between India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Japan’s PM Kishida during his speech that laid out his vision of a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ said, “Northeast India, which is surrounded by land, still has unexploited economic potential.”

By promoting private investment and enhancing connectivity infrastructure, Japan aims to create a comprehensive concept for regional development and economic growth.

With Dhaka, Tokyo has been working to support the development of the Matarbari deep-water port and improve connectivity in the Bay of Bengal region through the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (BIG-B) initiative. Japan has launched a Joint Study Group on the possibility of an Economic Partnership Agreement with Bangladesh to further enhance economic cooperation.

This is even as Bangladesh is all set to graduate from being classified as a least developed country to a developing country.

Source : wionews