Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina expresses optimism on Teesta pact despite stalemate
As she embarked on a four-day visit to India, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stressed that friendship between her country and India is like a ‘flowing river’.
During her visit, which comes after a gap of seven years, Hasina will hold wide-ranging talks with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during which India is also set to announce a line of credit of US $500 million to Bangladesh for military supplies.
“I think that the friendship between Bangladesh and India is like a flowing river and full with generosity. This is the spirit of the people of the two neighbours. I think if our commitments are honest, we would be able to achieve many things that are beneficial to our people,” she said in an article written in The Hindu.
However, amid reports that the long-pending pact on Teesta water sharing is unlikely to be inked, she said that only peaceful co-existence can ensure peace. “There are some issues between us. But I believe that any problem can be resolved in a peaceful manner. We have demonstrated our willpower through the implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement. There are some more issues like sharing of waters of the common rivers (the Teesta issue is currently under discussion) that need to be resolved. I’m an optimistic person. I would like to rest my trust on the goodwill of the great people and the leaders of our neighbour. I know resources are scarce, but we can share those for the benefit of the people of both countries,” she wrote.
Reports said that the central government will not go ahead with the agreement on Teesta without taking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on board. Banerjee has been opposing it stridently citing a water crisis in West Bengal.
“It will be a visit without water,” an official in the know of things told PTI.
Further stating that a large number of people of Bangladesh and India suffer from malnutrition and are deprived of their basic needs, Hasina added, “We have the ability. The only thing we need is to change our mentality. I think eradication of poverty should be the first and foremost priority of our political leaders.” She also emphasised on regional cooperation and improved connectivity.
Issues like combating terrorism, containing radicalism and enhancing security cooperation between the two countries are likely to figure prominently besides during talks between Modi and Hasina.
The West Bengal Chief Minister has accepted an invitation by the government to attend the launch of some projects between the two countries as well a lunch to be hosted in honour of Hasina by Modi. The issue of Teesta is likely to figure during Banerjee’s interaction with Hasina.
(With PTI inputs)
- Sheikh Hasina
- Narendra Modi
- Teesta Agreement
- Mamata Banerjee
- Land Boundary Agreement