KOLKATA: The NDA Government hopes to script a new chapter in India-Bangladesh relations during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the country beginning on Saturday. And West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who left for Dhaka on Friday, will be present during the inking of key bilateral agreements during the PM’s visit.
The PM will join the TMC chief on Saturday, but the two, however, will stay at different hotels in Dhaka and return on different dates.
Though External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has announced that there would be no formal discussion on the sharing of the Teesta waters, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is certain to raise the issue off the record.
Mamata, who had gone on a two-day visit to Dhaka in February, had informally discussed the problems faced by West Bengal farmers, when Hasina brought up the Teesta issue. This time too, the TMC chief said she had no objection to the matter being discussed informally in the presence of the two Prime Ministers. The Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh involves a large part of land in West Bengal, which is one of the key reasons why Mamata is accompanying the PM during the tour.
After the Centre’s promise of a rehabilitation package for the displaced sections, Mamata who had earlier opposed the Bill for the exchange, readily agreed.
In 2011, Mamata had dropped out of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Dhaka as the UPA-II Government finalised the Teesta Agreement and the LBA draft without consulting her.