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India has expressed interest in managing and developing Bangladesh’s Mongla Port, according to a report by The Economic Times. This move comes as China also seeks influence in the strategically located port.

India already manages ports in Iran (Chabahar) and Myanmar (Sittwe), and securing Mongla would grant them a strategic foothold in the Bay of Bengal. This could potentially counter China’s growing presence in the region and solidify India’s role as a security provider in the Indian Ocean.

The report cites discussions expected between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, where the Mongla Port issue might be addressed. India has been a strong supporter of Hasina’s government, and her visit to India is anticipated later this month or in July.

Mongla Port’s significance lies in its role as a transshipment hub for India’s northeastern states, bypassing the narrow “chicken’s neck” corridor vulnerable to blockades. India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) has already assessed Mongla’s operations, and negotiations are ongoing.

The Mongla Port Authority will make a decision based on profitability considerations. The port currently handles container and bulk cargo ships and is planning further expansion with additional jetties to manage increased transshipment volumes.

While the report from The Economic Times has not been independently verified by Moneycontrol, it signifies India’s strategic ambitions in the Bay of Bengal and its potential rivalry with China for influence in the region.