Dhaka hopes early Teesta deal signing

Bangladesh is hopeful about the early solution to the Teesta water sharing issue with India following the foreign ministers level meeting held virtually on Tuesday.

“We are always hopeful about Teesta. The Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting will be held soon,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the 6th Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting.

His Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar said both counties share 54 rivers. “These waters unite us and sustain us. We remain committed to Teesta water sharing and, in the meanwhile, are equally committed to move forward on other seven rivers on which data has been already shared with your side. There are issues like water conservation, fisheries, flood management and pollution in rivers that require coordinated efforts and we will be happy to discuss them further,” Jaishankar said.

The two Ministers reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction over significant progress in the implementation of various decisions taken during the fifth JCC meeting held in New Delhi in February 2019 and the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi in October 2019.

Both sides underscored the necessity of early resolution of the Teesta water sharing and early resolution of agreements on sharing of all common rivers. The two sides also agreed to hold the long pending Joint Rivers Commission meeting soon at the Ministerial level to address outstanding issues on water resources cooperation.

According to the joint statement after the meeting, the two ministers reiterated their commitment to finalisation of the Interim Agreement for sharing of the waters of the Teesta.

They also underscored the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six other joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

In this regard, the two Ministers recalled the positive contribution of the Joint Rivers Commission mechanism in resolving issues related to the common rivers and urged the concerned authorities to consider convening the Ministerial level JRC meeting between the two countries.

Dr Momen requested the cooperation of the Indian side for the implementation of Bangladesh’s Upper Surma-Kushiyara project. The Indian side noted that the feasibility report was under examination.