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Goyal Confident India Will Overtake China In Its Engagement With Bangladesh

Observing that India was amongst the 'rare countries' which saw FDI growth in 2020, the minister said he has 'absolutely no doubt it will be a record FDI'.

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Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday expressed confidence that going forward, India will be able to overtake China in its engagement with Bangladesh. His statement comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Bangladesh. The Prime Minister left for Bangladesh on Friday on a two-day visit during which he will take part in a wide range of programmes aimed at furthering cooperation between the two countries.

Addressing the Times Network India Economic Conclave, the commerce and industry minister said it will be a 'record year' in terms of FDI inflows for India, despite the pandemic and 'the fact that all international statistics suggest that foreign investments across the world are going to significantly fall in the current months.' Observing that India was amongst the 'rare countries' which saw FDI growth in 2020, the minister said he has 'absolutely no doubt it will be a record FDI'.

Asked about India's relations with Bangladesh vis-a-vis Bangladesh-China ties, he said India has been working relentlessly to build strong relations with all its neighbouring countries. Goyal said India's ability to add more value to the products and services has helped it expand trade ties with countries like Bangladesh. 'I have the confidence that going forward, we will be in a position to overtake China in their engagement with Bangladesh. We are working with that single-minded purpose and our industry has the ability,' said the minister. He said India's services sector has the confidence, adding that 'we in government are also proposing several initiatives, some of which should be discussed during PM Modi's visit to Bangladesh.' However, he added that India does not hold a grudge against any country for its engagement with anybody else and focuses only on what it can do with that country better. Goyal, who is also the railways and consumer affairs minister, said the Indian Railways has seen the highest freight loading in its history every month since September 2020 till February 2021.

'When we close March 2021, despite the setback of first few months of the lockdown, we will be exceeding last year's loading in the Indian Railways in terms of freight and it will be the highest freight loading that Indian Railways has seen in its long history,' he said.

On the Bharat Bandh called by farmers' organisations on Friday to protest against the three farm laws, which included train blockade, Goyal said he has been monitoring the situation and in the last report sent to him, he saw that in the whole country some 60 odd trains were disrupted for 5 to 15 minutes. The minister said this clearly shows that 'farmers across the country are happy with these laws', adding that the three farm laws do not take away anything from what was already existing and they are an added option given to the farming community.