India bids to head off China in Bangladesh

MUMBAI – India’s overdrive bid to regain long-standing good relations with Bangladesh seems to have gained traction, but the brief chill blowing between the two countries may have shown Dhaka the advantages it can gain from engaging more with China.

Over the past few months, India has initiated a series of measures to win back goodwill with its eastern neighbor. For example, the first container train service started last month to carry Indian goods to Bangladesh.

India gifted 10 broad gauge diesel locomotives to its eastern neighbor to help it tide over an emergency requirement. Its orders from the United States were taking time and it needed urgent replacements for its aging locomotives.

India requisitioned as many as 55 special trains to transport 125,000 tons of onions from Lasalgaon in Maharashtra to Dhaka. Bangladesh, which gets three-fourths of its onion imports from India, was upset at a surprise export ban last September.

A special train packed with 384 tons of red chilies also chugged 1,370 kilometers from Guntur to Bangladesh.

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