Dhaka wants to hear good news on Teesta from Delhi: FS

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The Teesta River rises in the eastern Himalayas, flows through the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal through Bangladesh and enters the Bay of Bengal. Image: Prato9x, CC BY-SA 2.0

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Wednesday (27 January 2021) said Bangladesh wants to hear a positive news on Teesta water sharing and simultaneously continue discussion on water sharing of other common rivers.

"Ball (on Teesta) is in India's court. We will surely want to see that it gets resolved. We know the Indian central government and state government are yet to fully agree on Teesta," he said after a meeting with Executive Committee of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB).

Bangladesh and India will hold the foreign office consultations (FOC) on January 29 to have comprehensive meeting on the entire gamut of bilateral relations

Masud Momen will leave for New Delhi on Thursday.

During his meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla, the two sides will discuss cooperation in the post-COVID era, including vaccine issue, border management, trade and investment, water resources, security issues, power cooperation such as in renewable energy, connectivity, development cooperation and increasing people-to-people ties.

During the December 17 virtual Summit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted the need for early signing of an interim agreement for sharing of Teesta water, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s “sincere commitment” and continued efforts in that regard.

The two leaders underscored the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

Bangladesh side also requested the Indian side to inform its concerned border authorities to allow excavation work of the remaining portion of the Rahimpur Khal for utilisation of Kushiyara River water for irrigation purposes.

Bangladesh will celebrate 50 years of its Independence in March and 50 years of diplomatic relations with India this year.

Bangladesh is also celebrating “Mujib Borsho” marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which will continue till December 16 2021.

Bangladesh and India are in discussion to hold an in-person summit in March 26 if the COVID-19 situation improves.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accepting her invitation to visit Bangladesh to join the celebrations on the occasion of 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s Independence and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations.

The Foreign Secretary will also discuss the agenda of the meeting between the two prime ministers.

He will meet Indian Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar and handover a letter of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the meeting.

Earlier, Dr Momen expressed his optimism over fulfillment of Bangladesh’s expectation by India as the two countries maintain a strong, very friendly and historic relationship.

“India is the closest friend of Bangladesh. India thinks the same way. I think our expectations will be met,” he told reporters at his office recently.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami has recently said they want to move “very quickly” on water sharing of six common rivers during the celebratory year of 2021 showing that the spirit of partnership and sharing between the two countries remains very strong.

“We see no barrier to sharing (six common rivers) water with Bangladesh. I think we can move very quickly. The main thing is to come up with data,” he told UNB in an interview recently.

The High Commissioner said water is a sensitive topic for everybody and they all need water.

Water resources secretaries will hold a meeting in New Delhi soon.

“We've to share the water. We're friends. We're neighbours. I think this will move very quickly,” he said expressing his optimism to hold the Joint Rivers Commission meeting in 2021 if the pandemic allows.

The Foreign Secretary will deliver a speech at a programme to be held at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS) on January 30.

Masud Momen will also meet diplomats based in New Delhi who are concurrently accredited to Bangladesh.

  • Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla
  • Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen
  • Teesta Water Sharing
  • Dhaka-Delhi
  • Teesta River
  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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