New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled a new roadmap for a shared future with its key eastern neighbour Bangladesh.
Modi’s parting remarks to his hostess and Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, was that his visit had given “nayi urja, nayi gati (new energy, new pace)’ to the relationship. The Teesta water-sharing issue also figured prominently.
Notably, both the Prime Ministers directed their respective Ministries of Water Resources to work towards an early conclusion of the Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six common rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
The Joint Statement said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated Bangladesh’s long-pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of the waters of the Teesta river. She underscored that to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta river basin, it is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the Teesta waters, the draft agreement of which has already been agreed upon by both Governments in January 2011”.
It further said – “Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s sincere commitment and continued efforts to conclude this agreement, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. The Indian side also requested for early finalization of the draft of the interim agreement for sharing of water of Feni River, pending with the Bangladesh side which had been agreed upon by both sides in 2011.”
Bangladesh PM Hasina’s spokesperson Ihasanul Karim also said on Teesta watershare, which has long been objected to by incumbent West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Prime Minister Modi told his counterpart, “We are committed to a reasonable solution to sharing of water of all the rivers”.
Bangladesh Prime Minister thanked the Indian side for considering Bangladesh’s proposal to name the historic road from Mujib Nagar to Nadia on the Bangladesh- India border as “Shadhinota Shorok” commemorating the historic significance of the road during Bangladesh’s Liberation War. Both sides looked forward to inaugurating the road soon as part of the joint celebrations.
Both sides acknowledged the potential of ‘new and emerging areas’ of cooperation in bilateral cooperation and directed authorities to explore cooperation in artificial intelligence and also peaceful uses of nuclear technology.
On PM Modi’s visit to rural areas including at Bangabandhu Mausoleum and Orakandi temple in Gopalganj, Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said, “We are not countries that go to capitals, have meetings in drawing rooms. We are countries that have so much of shared history and cultural legacy that we visit different parts of each other’s country”.