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Hasina seeks immediate signing of Teesta deal for water sharing


Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also hoped India would implement the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) which the two sides signed three years ago. Photo: File

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has requested India to immediately sign the much-awaited agreement for sharing waters of the Teesta River during a meeting with Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh in Dhaka.

"Teesta water sharing deal should be inked as soon as possible as Bangladesh needs more water in the lean period," Hasina's press secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury quoted her as telling Singh, who called on her last night at her residence.

She also hoped India would implement the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) which the two sides signed three years ago.  Singh, also the Minister of State with independent charge for North East Region, arrived here Saturday with a high-profile delegation of northeastern states to attend a day-long business conclave.

India Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kolkata and India- Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) with the help of Indian High Commission have organised the conclave titled 'A New Phase in Bilateral Economic Relations'.

The Indian delegation included Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Commerce And Industry Minister of Tripura Tapan Chakraborty. The two were also present during Singh's meeting with Hasina, who also urged India to provide transit to Bangladesh with Nepal and Bhutan through Indian territory.

"We also want transit from you, as we are already providing that facilities to you," she said.

Chowdhury said Singh reassured Dhaka of providing the facility saying "yes, you will get it" and added that a railway line should be built along with the existing road that connects Bangladesh with Nepal and Bhutan.

"We want to create an environment for increasing trade and investment between North Eastern States of India and Bangladesh," Singh said, adding that the existing makeshift 'border hats' increased the people-to-people contact to a great extent between the two countries.

Singh is the second Indian minister to tour Bangladesh since the visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in June after the assumption of the NDA government in office.

During her visit, Swaraj had said the NDA was seeking to reach an "internal consensus" in India on the Teesta deal.

The Teesta deal was set to be inked during the then prime minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Bangladesh in 2011 but was postponed at the last minute due to objections by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee.

The Teesta water is crucial for Bangladesh, especially in the leanest period from December to March when the water flow often temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusec from  5,000 cusec every year.

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