India seeks B’desh land for Agartala Airport expansion

India seeks B’desh land for Agartala Airport expansion

Agency News

Dhaka, Aug 2: India has asked Bangladesh to give some land in Brahmanbaria area in view of the upgradation of the Agartala Airport, Bangladesh officials have said.
Bangladesh Home Minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, on Thursday told mediapersons that the government was yet to take any decision on the issue.

India, which already has obtained transit and trans-shipment facilities, has made the proposal at several meetings in the past one year.

The foreign ministry held a meeting in October with other relevant ministries and intelligence agencies to examine whether or how Bangladesh could share its land with India for the expansion of Agartala Airport in Tripura which was renamed as Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport on August 7, 2018.

None of the officials disclosed the amount of land that India has sought but a Defence Ministry official said that the existing Agartala Airport and its runway were located less than a kilometre off the border at Chanpur of Akhaura.

A Defence Ministry official, who is posted at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, said that aircraft from Kolkata and Guwahati needed to use the Bangladesh airspace during take-off and landing at Agartala airport.

India first made the proposal at a bilateral meeting in July 2018 when the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Bangladesh.

As we were approached on the issue at the meeting, we asked them to make a formal proposal, the civil aviation and tourism secretary, Mohibul Haque, said.

Two senior officials who attended the meeting at the Foreign Ministry in October 2018 said that a military official detailed security issues of the sharing of the Bangladesh territory with India.

"No decision has yet been made. A number of ministries are related to the issue and the ministries are coordinating themselves on the issue," The foreign secretary, Shahidul Haque said.

Tripura’s the then king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur built the airport in 1942 where three airliners now run on an average 14 flights on the Agartala–Kolkata, Agartala–Guwahati and Agartala–Delhi routes.(UNI)