by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
Bangladesh has urges India to complete the process of signing a deal on water sharing of one of the major transboundary rivers as both sides reached consensus on an agreement nearly a decade ago.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the call to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as two leaders held official talks in Dhaka on Saturday.
Bangladesh and India was poised to sign the agreement for sharing of waters on Teesta River when Indian former prime minister Manmohan Singh visited Bangladesh in 2011.
But the signing was deferred for indefinite period after Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of Indian state of West Bengal, opposed it at the last moment. Bangladesh has been deprived of its due share of waters in absence of an agreement.
However, it appears the Indian side put hardly any positive note on Bangladesh’s concern.
Hasina, at the meeting, said the implementation of the proposed treaty appeared crucial as the people living along the Teesta river bank were suffering because of water shortage.
In response the Indian premier told Hasina that India was committed for a “reasonable solution” to the water sharing issues involving all common rivers with Bangladesh, according to Hasina’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim.
Bangladesh and India shares common 54 rivers.
Killing on the border by Indian guards, cooperation on repatriation of persecuted Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar, fighting the global pandemic of novel coronavirus were issues among others featured in the meeting, attended also by senior officials from Bangladesh and India.
The Indian Prime Minister, who arrived in Dhaka on a two-day official visit to attend Bangladesh’s celebration of golden jubilee of its independence, acknowledged the issue of border incidents. He assured that he would check the matter with officials involved once he is back home.
The two next-door neighbours earlier agreed that they would bring the casualty at the porous border to zero, and would not use lethal weapons in handling the border crimes. But the incidents of death of Bangladeshi nationals in the hands of Border Security Force are still frequent.
Modi left Dhaka for New Delhi on Saturday evening, wrapping up his two-day visit.
India wants sustainable return of the Rohingya refugees in a peaceful manner, said the India Prime Minister as Bangladeshi premier sought Indian cooperation for the repatriation of the refugees back to their home. More than 1 million Rohingya Muslims have been living in squalid camps in Bangladesh after they fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Majority of them crossed the border after the Myanmar army launched crackdown on the minority group in 2017.
Bangladesh says unless the refugees are returned home, they may turn to be a threat for regional stability since there are chances the terrorist might radicalize them or might be involved in illegal drug trading.
Hasina thanked the Indian leader for sending Covid-19 vaccine and ambulances as gifts beside Bangladesh is importing 3 million doses from Serum Institute of India.
She said Bangladesh by now nearly exhausted the first commercial consignment of the vaccine and hope that the rest of the consignments would be delivered soon.
Hasina also drew her counterpart’s attention to indiscriminate imposition of anti-dumping duties which was creating unnecessary obstacles to the bilateral cooperation. She sought Modi’s quick intervention to resolve the issue.
She also proposed enhanced joint cooperation to promote jute as environment friendly fiber as the two countries were the biggest jute producing countries.
“So we must need to cooperate more meaningfully for this sector,” she said adding Dhaka extended an open invitation for foreign direct investment for Bangladesh’s state run jute mills under public-private partnership.