NEW DELHI: Long overdue visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to fructify in April this year, albeit without the Teesta water sharing accord as the Mamta Banerjee government has not come on board.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of his “Neighbourhood First’ policy, had visited Bangladesh in 2015 and had settled the 41-year-old boundary dispute between the two countries. A similar historic Teesta Water sharing agreement was expected the long awaited visit of the Bangladesh Prime Minister. However, the Teesta water sharing agreement is stuck at the state government level.
“The Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit would be happening in April and would be happening without the Teesta Agreement,” sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told the New Indian Express.
During Modi’s visit to Bangladesh, West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee stood next to the Prime Minister and expressed confidence of a “fair solution: to the sharing of the water of Teesta and Feni river. But all that is past now as the Centre and the West Bengal State government have lost their bonhomie. “It is difficult to get the West Bengal government on board with rift between the centre and the state,” the Government officials added.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will be a visiting to Dhaka between February 23rd and 24th. He will be meeting his Bangladeshi counterpart Md. Shahidul Haque. The two Foreign Secretaries are expected to work out details of Sheikh Hasina’s visit besides reviewing other areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
But the two countries are expected to ink over a dozen agreements during the visit, including that of using Chittagong port by India. “The Indian side has sent a long list of 41 agreements,” a Bangladeshi diplomat in New Delhi said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has proved herself to be an important ally of India by cracking down on extremists in the country where radicalisation has been on the rise. The two countries have been sharing intelligence to combat terrorism in the region.