Delhi must resolve Teesta, LBA issues to bolster ties : Stress former envoys of Bangladesh and India, The Independent, 15 November 2014
India will have to conclude the Teesta water sharing agreement and ratify the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) to further move forward the bilateral relations between Dhaka and New Delhi, former high commissioners of Bangladesh and India said yesterday.
They also pointed out that both the countries need to take measures to address the issues related to trust and confidence between the two next door neighbours to bolster the relationship and emphasised the need for ensuring mutual interests while conducting the bilateral activities.
They also laid emphasis on national consensuses in both the countries regarding the bilateral issues and political will to solve them.
The former envoys of both the countries were speaking at a two-day conference styled ‘First India-Bangladesh High Commissioners’ Summit’, organised by the international relations department of Dhaka University at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.
Some 14 former high commissioners and deputy high commissioners of both the countries participated in the summit. They are Muchkund Dubey, Faruq Ahmed Chowdhury, Farooq Sobhan, IS Chadha, CM Shafi Sami, Harun ur Rashid, Deb Mukherji, Mostafa Faruque Mohammad, Veena Sikri, Humayun Kabir, Pinak R Chakravarty, Hemayetuddin, Rajeet Mitter and Touhid Hossain. Incumbent high commissioner to India Tariq Karim and Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran also took part in the programme.
Foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali inaugurated the summit as chief guest. Dhaka University vice chancellor professor AAMS Arefin Siddique addressed the inauguration session as guest of honour while international relations department chair professor Ashequa Irshad gave vote of thanks. The inauguration session was followed by three sessions – Lessons from the Past, Changes and Hurdles in Contemporary Times and India-Bangladesh Relations and its Futures. All the sessions were presided over by summit coordinator professor Imtiaz Ahmed.
The foreign minister expressed his hope that the pending issues will be settled to add a new dimension to the relations with India.
“There will always be issues between neighbours and, Bangladesh and India are no
exceptions. But we believe that if we approach the issues with an open mind, resolution is possible however intractable they might seem,” he said.
The minister also said, “The relations between Bangladesh and India have withstood the test of time. I believe that despite ups and downs in the past, the relationship has
reached a point from where it can only blossom. There is no end to further strengthening of our relations.”
The former Bangladeshi high commissioners stressed that India should soon resolve the pending issues like Teesta, LBA and killings of Bangladeshis by the Indian Border Security Force along the border.
They also shed lights on the issues regarding huge trade imbalance in favour of India as well as the water sharing of the common rivers.
On the other hand, the former Indian high commissioners emphasised on issues including security, economic integration, investment, transit and energy cooperation.
There has also been deliberation putting forward suggestion to make the Joint Rivers Commission an autonomous body to make it more functional.
Former Indian high commissioner IS Chadha said that Bangladesh showed goodwill by addressing the security concerns of India, but India failed to respond to Bangladesh’s gesture.
India must deliver on Teesta and LBA, he said, stressing the need for national consensus. Another former Indian high commissioner Muchkund Dubey said that it is most important for India to deliver on Teesta and LBA to advance the relationship.
He said that all the issues should be resolved bilaterally based on law and rights. The former envoy also called for concluding a bilateral economic integration agreement between the two neighbours to take the relationship to a new dimension. He also said that Indian prime minister should give priority to Bangladesh. Former Bangladesh high commissioner Farooq Sobhan placed emphasis on mutual respect and benefits, saying that both the countries will have to learn from the past as to how to manage the relationship.