India said Saturday it would start to supply some 250 megawatts of power to neighbouring Bangladesh by 2013 as it moves to cement relations between the South Asian neighbours. The step is part of a drive by the two countries for closer ties. “Work on the transmission line to connect the two countries for supply of the 250 megawatts of power promised by India is proceeding apace,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in New Delhi. “We expect power to flow by 2013,” he told reporters.
The two countries agreed during a visit to India by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in January 2010 that they would cooperate in areas including security and energy. The two countries signed a 35-year landmark electricity transmission deal under which India will eventually export up to 500 megawatts of power to Bangladesh.
Mukherjee added that a concessional loan to Bangladesh of $1 billion would be used for building infrastructure in the neighbouring country, and would include the supply of buses, railway coaches and railway infrastructure. The minister visited Dhaka in August 2010 to witness the signing of the $1 billion line of credit agreement, the largest sum ever offered by India to any country on soft terms. The developments mark a warming of ties between the two nations.