Sharing water of 54 common rivers discussed
Dhaka-Delhi working out formulas: Jaishankar
Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganobhaban on Tuesday. PID photo
Diplomatic Correspondent :
Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday said Bangladesh and India are working to find "mutually acceptable formulas" to share water from 54 common rivers.
"We look forward to making a progress to find mutually acceptable formulas to share water from our 54 shared rivers," he told reporters after a meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart in Dhaka.
Jaishankar also said India's position and commitment to the pending Teesta water deal remained as it was.
The Indian External Affairs Minister and his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen briefed the journalists after their bilateral meeting at state guesthouse Jamuna that lasted for over an hour.
On water sharing, Jaishankar said,Â "Water resource is an important subject for Bangladesh and "we look forward to making progress to find a mutually acceptable formula from 54 shared rivers. We are ready to make a start wherever possible".
"We have a position you are aware of that. We have a commitment on that position and that does not change," he said when asked to comment specifically on the Teesta, indicating New Delhi's previous position that it is ready to sign the deal once the West Bengal government agrees to it.
On Rohingya issue, the Indian External Affair Minister said, both the sides also discussed the Rohingya issue and agreed on their safe, speedy and sustainable return to Myanmar.
Responding to a question, he said, the process of documenting and identifying illegal immigrants in Assam is India's "internal matter." Terming India-Bangladesh partnership as a 'Role Model,' Jaishankar said connectivity between the countries has been increased on all routes and "we would like to step up this partnership". "Our partnership with Bangladesh remains an example what neighbours can do together," he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to ensure partnership that remains a "role model" in South Asia.
Jaishankar also said the two countries have a very important shared history and they look forward to sharing Bangladesh's celebrations of birth centenary of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence in 2021.
Through the visit, the Indian minister said they signal publicly the importance they attach to the relationship ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India. "This is such an important relationship."
Jaishankar said the improved partnership against crimes, extremism, and terrorist groups will have direct benefits to the people of the two countries when it comes to security issue. In terms of connectivity, he said, they will step up this partnership to realise all the potential of connectivity.
"We've many energy-sharing projects which we're discussing, including private and public sector partnership," he added. On trade issues, Jaishankar said they are ready to move to the next stage of economic partnership as Bangladesh's economy develops and matures. "We'll make progress at a phase which is comfortable for Bangladesh."
On people-to-people contact, the visiting minister said the largest consular operation of India is now in Bangladesh and they are very proud of that.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen they had a very good discussion on many issues and have a consensus on almost all those discussed issues. He said they are satisfied with the discussion and hoped for better days ahead.
Dr Momen hosted lunch in honour of his Indian counterpart after the meeting. Before the meeting, the Indian minister visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32 and paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait there.