Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday assured his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina that his government will do its best to table the all-important Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) in the Winter Session of Parliament,which would still be before the elections in Bangladesh.
According to official sources,the meeting lasted a little over half-an-hour,of which about 20 minutes were spent one-on-one between the two leaders without any aides. While details of what transpired between the two were kept under wraps,sources added that the LBA issue did come up before that and the PM asked External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to explain the development.
Khurshid gave a detailed account of the efforts he had been making in reaching out to different political parties in a bid to arrive at an understanding that would see the agreement through Parliament. It may be noted the government had attempted to bring the agreement on the last day of the Monsoon Session but could not secure the BJPs consent.
Elections in Bangladesh are due by the end of the year but there are now indications that they could spill over to January next year which,in a way,makes the Winter Session window extremely crucial for India and Bangladesh. New Delhi has already concluded the agreement,but since it involves a border settlement,Parliament has to give its approval.
On the Teesta river issue,official sources said,the Indian side explained that Bangladesh was already getting the entire amount of water and was in a beneficial position. Any agreement would eventually lead to sharing the waters that have not yet been dammed on the Indian side.
Hasina,on her part,thanked the Indian side for moving on sharing 500 MW power,which would count for about 9 per cent of Bangladeshs current power production. She said her government had added over 6000 MW electricity during her tenure. The Bangladesh PM was accompanied by her daughter,who runs an NGO and was recently in India where she met Sonia Gandhi.