Indo-Bangladesh ties will undergo “another transformation” if a pact on Teesta water sharing is inked, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday. Stressing that common water resources must act as a uniting force, she pitched for a comprehensive solution to the sharing of waters of all common rivers between the two countries.
“We strongly believe our common water resources must act as a uniting force. A comprehensive, basin-wide solution with an in-built solution to water sharing of all common rivers holds the key to our common future,” she said while addressing an event here.
On the Teesta issue, Hasina said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again reiterated his government’s strong resolve to sign the water-sharing treaty as soon as possible.
“Once it happens, the phase of Indo-Bangladesh relations will undergo another transformation,” she said.
In a lighter vein, Hasina said she does not know how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is reportedly not in favour of the Teesta water sharing pact, will react to her statement.
“I don’t know what ‘Didi’ (Banerjee) will do. Had a talk with Didi, she put forward something new. But Modiji has given the assurance that he is there to see what happens,” she said.
The Bangladesh PM, however, noted that the West Bengal Chief Minister had offered her electricity. “Paani mangaa to electricity mila. Lekin electricity milaa achha hai kuch toh mila naa (we asked for water, she gave us power, but at least we got something)”, Hasina said, in a departure from her prepared speech.
While Modi has reiterated his government’s commitment to signing of the pact, Mamata has insisted that instead of Teesta, the government should look at other river systems to share water with Bangladesh.
The Teesta deal was set to be signed during former PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September 2011, but was postponed due to Mamata’s objections.
Hasina also asserted that her government has comprehensively addressed India’s security concerns. “We have put in place a multi-layered and effective bilateral security architecture with many dedicated joint institutional mechanisms for targeted and coordinated actions,” she said.
Observing that the journey towards peace and prosperity is put to peril by the rise of terrorism and violent extremism, she said threats from state and non-state actors tend to undermine efforts to integrate regional economies and societies and pitched for more concerted efforts to strengthen security.