Dhaka seeks progress on river sharing


Dhaka: Ahead of summit level talks with India next month, Bangladesh wants an agreement with New Delhi to share the Teesta river water.

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Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes says Bangladesh also wants to discuss the shooting of smugglers and alleged Bangladeshi intruders by India’s Border Security Force (BSF) before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina goes to New Delhi.

The United News of Bangladesh (UNB) Saturday quoted him as saying that Dhaka expected progress on these two issues before Hasina’s trip Jan 11 trip.

Dhaka wants a date from New Delhi for a meeting of the ministerial-level Joint River Commission (JRC). “The Indian side has not yet responded to Bangladesh’s intention,” Star Online said.

A pact for sharing the Ganga waters is already in place.

During the prime minister’s visit, several agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) are likely to be signed to facilitate transportation of heavy equipment New Delhi seeks to send through Bangladesh for a power project in Tripura in northeastern India.

Strengthening the Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute to remove the hassle of certifying Bangladeshi exports and facilitating Bangladesh-Nepal and Bangladesh-Bhutan connectivity through India are also among the issues to be taken up.

The minister said Bangladesh kept “sustained pressure on the Indian side to stop the killings” by the BSF.

Through prolonged talks, the two sides have already finalised drafts for five bilateral pacts that would tackle extradition, exchange of criminals and trade matters.