Dhaka, June 27:

India has regained its position as the number one import source for Bangladesh, beating China, in the first nine months of the financial year ending on June 30, official figures said.

This is mainly due to large-scale imports of rice and onion from India after Bangladesh faced a series of natural calamities last year.

Besides, analysts said, India, as the current chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), has also gone out of its way to woo the least developed countries among the member-nations, of which Bangladesh is one.

China was the number one import source for Bangladesh during 2005-06 and 2006-07. “India is set to dominate the Bangladesh market as importers here are shifting from China,” a senior commerce ministry official was quoted by the New Age newspaper as saying.

Bangladeshi importers find imports of essentials from the next-door neighbour convenient in many ways, he said.

Bangladesh Bank’s figures showed the country imported Chinese goods worth $2,292.12 million during July-March of the current fiscal year, that ends this month-end. The amount was 15 per cent of the country’s total imports during the period. But imports from India figured $2,454.83 million or 16 per cent of overall imports.