Narendra Modi Sheikh Hassina
Narendra Modi Sheikh HassinaCreative Commons

Having bagged the Chahbahar port deal in southeastern Iran, India is now looking to expand its maritime trade by developing Bangladesh's Payra port. India Ports Global, a joint venture by state-run Jawahar Lal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Kandla Port, has shown interest after the Payra sea port invited global entities for developing it, a Ministry of Shipping statement was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India

"...talks are on between our foreign ministry and them (Bangladesh). Dhaka also wants us. We have sent a team there for studies," Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari was quoted as saying by PTI. However, he did not disclose the port's location.

"The Shipping Ministry is closely following the developments in regard to the Payra port so as to secure our national and strategic interests," the statement said.

Bangladesh reportedly cancelled an agreement with China regarding the Payra port, and instead, was ready to hand it over to India. This move is believed to be not only a sign of India and Bangladesh's growing ties, but also in reaction to China's competitiveness. It is developing the Gwadar port in Pakistan and a port in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo.

India recently signed a trilateral agreement with Afghanistan and Iran for developing the Chahbahar port, which is believed to be in competition to Pakistan's Gwadar port that is being developed by China. A conference is expected to be held soon to raise capital for the project. India has promised an initial capital expenditure of $500 million for the project.

Chahbahar is an all weather port and a Free Trade and Industrial Zone. It is connected to the Persian Gulf, connecting UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to DNA.