Last week Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali, when asked for his views on reports that a deal with India on a sharing of Ganges waters was in the offing, made no response. We will not suggest that the Foreign Minister made a mistake by not answering the question from the media. He certainly had his reasons for not making any remarks on the subject.
Beyond and above everything, though, it is important that the Teesta water-sharing issue being of critical importance for Bangladesh, the government should from periodically keep the nation abreast of developments or otherwise about it. Now that these media reports have come up, and the reports have appeared in the Indian media, it should have been and indeed should be the responsibility of the relevant authorities in Dhaka to come forth with Bangladesh’s response to the reports. Silence over issues of grave import to the nation is no mark of wisdom. If it is intended to be a demonstration of pragmatism, it falls flat. And given the fact that certain quarters have raised the question of whether the Teesta issue was discussed with the Indian leadership during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Shantinketan, though we realize it was hardly an appropriate occasion for the issue to be raised, the government should have come forth with a statement. That it did not was regrettable.
Issues of a crucial and critical nature are always deliberated on by lawmakers in every democratic country around the world. If that is the truth, and it is, one expects our Jatiya Sangsad to keep the people of the country posted on how its members observe the Teesta and other conditions relating to Bangladesh. By other conditions we certainly refer to the many questions which have lately riddled the on-going operations against drugs and their traders as well as the disappearances of individuals which have been taking place over the past couple of years. With general elections expected to be held by the end of the year, it is important that the ruling party go into the serious and necessary business of engaging with the nation on matters like the Teesta. And that can be done through periodic statements coming from the relevant ministers, but much more desirable is for the JS to initiate discussions on the crisis.
We believe it should be the endeavour of the government to remain engaged in constructive negotiations with the Indian government, given that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised not long ago to have a deal on the Teesta arrived at by Delhi and Dhaka before the terms of office of the Awami League government here and the BJP government over there come to an end.
We keep fingers crossed.