India, Bangladesh discuss sharing of Teesta waters during virtual summit: MEA

ANI
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Smita Pant, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh-Myanmar, MEA
Smita Pant, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh-Myanmar, MEA

New Delhi [India], December 17 (ANI): India and Bangladesh on Thursday discussed sharing the waters of Teesta and other rivers, as well as issues related to fisheries, ministry of external affairs said.

These were discussed during the virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina highlighted the need for early signing of an interim agreement for sharing of the Teesta waters, as agreed upon by both the governments in 2011. Prime Minister Modi reiterated India's sincere commitment and continued efforts of New Delhi in that regard, according to a joint statement.

"Sharing of water of Teesta and other rivers and issues related to fisheries were discussed," Smita Pant, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh-Myanmar, MEA said during a briefing after the summit.

During the summit, the two leaders underscored the need for early conclusion of Framework of Interim Agreement on sharing of waters of six joint rivers, namely, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

Both sides agreed to hold an early meeting of the Joint Boundary Conference to prepare a new set of strip maps along the stretch of Icchamati, Kalindi, Raimongol and the Hariabhanga Rivers from Main Pillar 1 to Land Boundary terminus, with a view to finalizing the delineation of the boundaries as fixed. It was agreed to carry out necessary work to convert the International Boundary along Kuhsiyara river into a fixed boundary.

Bangladesh reiterated the request for 1.3 km Innocent Passage through river route along with River Padma near Rajshahi District. The Indian side assured that it will consider the request.

Sharing of waters of the Teesta River, which originates from Sikkim and flows through West Bengal to merge with the Brahmaputra in Assam and Jamuna in Bangladesh, is one of most contentious issue between New Delhi and Dhaka.

While Bangladesh has demanded 50 per cent of the river's water supply from December to March, India has claimed a share of 55 per cent. Previously, the Teesta water agreement was slated to be inked between the two countries on September 6, 2011, during the visit of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka.

However, the proposed deal was called off after repeated objections by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The water-sharing issue was once again discussed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka in June 2015. (ANI)