DHAKA, Bangladesh 

India has provided 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh “as a mark of enduring friendship,” an official said.

Speaking at a virtual handover ceremony on Monday, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said it will bring the two countries “even closer.”

Terming Bangladesh-India ties as “rock solid” and based on shared values, the minister said: “Connectivity is productivity and our visionary prime minister has been trying to expand our connectivity in roads, rail, river routes and heart to heart with our neighbors.”

He said regional railway connectivity could increase bilateral and multilateral trade, which is vital for development “in a fast changing world, swept by unforeseen challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“Connectivity in the region will unpack numerous opportunities for the people of South Asia. […] We are happy that India partners with Bangladesh in this endeavor,” Momen said.

The development comes amid changing regional dynamics, and bids to increase influence in the neighborhood.

Last month, China provided Dhaka a huge trade boost by announcing tariff exemption for 97% of Bangladeshi products.

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