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Bangladesh Proposes Comprehensive Amendments to Travel Agreement with India

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In a bid to enhance travel convenience and flexibility between Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh is set to propose substantial amendments to its existing travel agreement with India. The proposed changes, which aim to streamline the travel process, include issuing visas allowing travel through any checkpost and providing flexibility for long-term medical treatments, such as permitting multiple travels.

The current travel agreement, initiated on September 1, 1972, and last revised in January 2013, is set to expire on Sunday. In anticipation of its expiration, Bangladesh is presenting a comprehensive proposal for its renewal.

A senior official from the Ministry of Home Affairs anticipates the signing of the new travel agreement within the next month. To facilitate this process, Bangladesh’s Security Service Division has meticulously prepared a proposal.

An inter-ministerial meeting, scheduled for Sunday, will gather opinions and recommendations from relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education, and the Ministry of Shipping.

Following the meeting, the finalized proposal will be sent to the Indian side through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, initiating a mutual exchange of opinions before the agreement is renewed.

Key proposals in the amendment include replacing the term “Designated check post” with “Through any check post” in visa documentation to provide travelers with entry and exit flexibility. This change aims to alleviate congestion at specific checkposts and streamline the travel process.

The proposal also includes provisions for multiple travels and the option to change hospitals during long-term medical treatments, addressing the diverse needs of individuals seeking extended medical care in either country.

Bangladesh will propose increasing the visa-free stay period for diplomatic and official passports from 45 to 90 days, and other proposals include extending the validity of short-term double-entry visas and recognizing river routes as a legitimate travel option.

For stays exceeding six months, the current requirement for approval from the Foreigner Registration Office may be replaced with online registration for a Residential Permit 14 days before arrival.

Notably, there will be no changes to long-term multiple entry visas and long-term employment visas.

With these amendments, Bangladesh aims to foster a more seamless and convenient travel relationship, catering to the diverse needs of citizens from both countries. The proposed changes are expected to contribute to the substantial influx of Bangladeshi tourists visiting India each year for various purposes, including education, medical care, employment, business, and tourism. According to data from the Bureau of Immigration of India, Bangladesh was the second-highest contributor to India’s tourism sector in 2022, with 20% of tourists originating from Bangladesh.

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Bangladesh-Qatar Strengthen Ties with 10 Cooperation Deals

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Bangladesh and Qatar signed 10 cooperation documents on Tuesday, including five agreements and five MoUs, aimed at strengthening ties and elevating relations to new heights.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani witnessed the signing of the documents.

The five agreements cover cooperation in the legal field, promotion and protection of mutual investments, avoidance of double taxation, maritime transport, and the establishment of a Joint Business Council (JBC) between FBCCI & QCCI.

The five MoUs include cooperation in sports and youth, manpower employment (Labour), diplomatic training, education, higher education, scientific research, and between Qatar Ports management Company “MAWANI QATAR” and Chittagong Ports Authority.

Earlier in the morning, PM Hasina warmly welcomed and received Emir Sheikh Tamim at her office.

They had a tête-à-tête meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, followed by a bilateral meeting.

After signing the visitors’ book, the emir headed for Bangabhaban where the president received him.

A high-level Qatari delegation led by Qatar’s emir is on a state visit to Bangladesh at the invitation of the president and the prime minister.

During the ceremony, a road and a park in Dhaka were named after Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

The park, constructed in Kalshi area of Mirpur under Dhaka North City Corporation, and the road from Mirpur ECB point to Kalsi Fly Over were named after Emir of Qatar.

Now, the road and park are known as Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Avenue and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Park.

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FBCCI Pushes for SME Participation in Global Trade Fairs

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The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) is urging for greater involvement of marginal, small, and medium enterprises in international trade fairs. This initiative aims to spotlight Bangladesh’s promising products on the global market.

FBCCI President Mahbubul Alam made the call during the first meeting of the organisation’s Standing Committee on National and International Trade Fairs and Foreign Delegations. He emphasised the need to provide marginal, small, and medium enterprises with the space and resources to effectively display their products at these events.

“The participation of marginal, small, and medium enterprises is crucial at both national and international levels,” Mahbubul Alam said. “This will allow us to export Bangladesh’s promising products and open new markets.”

The FBCCI president informed that his organisation is actively discussing and collaborating with the government to make this a reality. He also proposed organising roadshows in neighbouring countries and Europe to revive the country’s handicraft industry and increase export opportunities for these products.

Standing Committee Chairman Nuruzzaman echoed Mahbubul Alam’s sentiments, highlighting Bangladesh’s vast potential and young population. “We need to move beyond the garment sector and focus on product diversification and market creation,” Nuruzzaman said.

Achieving this, he acknowledged, will require close collaboration with the Export Promotion Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

FBCCI Senior Vice President Md Amin Helaly pledged the organisation’s support in facilitating increased exports through participation in foreign trade fairs. He stressed, however, the importance of raising awareness among Bangladeshis about the country’s diverse and promising products.

The meeting concluded with an open discussion where participants expressed keen interest in organising and participating in various sectoral fairs, both domestically and internationally, under the FBCCI’s umbrella.

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Ambassador Imran: Legal Remittance Key to Bangladesh’s Growth

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Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the United States (US), Muhammad Imran, has urged Bangladeshi expatriates to send remittances through legal channels to further strengthen the country’s economy. He also encouraged them to showcase the country’s success stories to enhance its image abroad.

Speaking as the chief guest at the Customers’ Gathering and SECI App Campaign of Sonali Exchange at the Bangabandhu Auditorium of the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC on Friday evening, Ambassador Imran emphasized the importance of sending remittances legally.

The event, jointly organized by the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC and Sonali Exchange, a subsidiary company of Sonali Bank, aimed to raise awareness about sending remittances to Bangladesh through legal channels.

Sonali Bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director, Md. Afzal Karim, attended the event as a special guest, while Devasree Mitra, CEO of Sonali Exchange Company Incorporation, USA, delivered the welcome address.

Ambassador Imran highlighted Bangladesh’s significant progress across all sectors over the past decade and a half under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He emphasized the positive achievements and changes that have occurred in the country during this period.

Imran stressed the importance of sharing Bangladesh’s success stories globally, believing that doing so would elevate the country’s stature on the international stage. He noted Bangladesh’s victorious history, achieved through the Liberation War under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Bangabandhu’s vision of establishing “Sonar Bangla” (Golden Bengal) free from hunger and poverty remains a driving force for the nation, Imran stated, expressing confidence that Bangladesh is steadily progressing towards this goal.

The event saw participation from a large number of expatriate Bangladeshis residing in Washington DC and its neighboring states. Counsellor and Head of Chancery Shamima Yeasmin Smrite conducted the proceedings.

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