Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said she hopes that the issue of sharing water of the Teesta river with India will be resolved soon, The Indian Express reported.
“I recall that the two countries have resolved many outstanding issues in the spirit of friendship and cooperation,” Hasina said. “And I hope that all outstanding issues including the Teesta water sharing treaty would be concluded at an early date.”
The sharing of water from the river Teesta – which originates in the Himalayas and flows through the states of Sikkim and West Bengal before merging into the Brahmaputra in Assam and the Jamuna in Bangladesh – is one of the contentious matters between the two countries, according to The Hindu.
While Bangladesh seeks equal distribution of water, the move is opposed by the West Bengal government on grounds that the water level in the river is already low.
In 2011, the Teesta water sharing agreement, which was supposed to be signed during a Bangladesh visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, did not happen at the last moment due to objections from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
On Sunday, in an interview with ANI, Hasina urged India to show generosity regarding the water-sharing agreement.
“It is very sad that we [Bangladesh] are in downstream,” said Hasina, who arrived in New Delhi on Monday on a four-day visit to India. “So water is coming from India..so India should show more generosity.”
On Tuesday, the Bangladeshi prime minister said she was confident that New Delhi and Dhaka will find a solution to all bilateral problems, including the Teesta river.
“I know as long as Prime Minister Modi is here, Bangladesh and India will resolve all these problems,” Hasina said, according to The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has increased significantly.
“Today, India is the largest market in Asia for Bangladesh’s exports,” Modi said. “To further accelerate this growth, we will soon start discussions on the Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.”
He said that the two countries have also decided to increase cooperation in sectors like Information Technology, space and nuclear energy.
“We will also continue to cooperate on climate change and on preserving a common heritage like the Sundarbans,” Modi said. “...Today, we have signed an important agreement on sharing water of the Kushiyara river. This will benefit Southern Assam in India and Sylhet region in Bangladesh.”
Modi added that India and Bangladesh should jointly face terrorist and fundamentalist forces that threaten to damage the mutual trust between the two countries.
“To keep the spirit of 1971 alive, it is also very important that we fight together such forces, which want to attack our mutual trust,” the prime minister said.