Teesta deal soon: Rizvi, The Daily Star, Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Signing of the delayed Teesta water sharing deal between Bangladesh and India will take place very soon, said Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister Gowher Rizvi yesterday at a dialogue in the city.

Popular perception is that failure to sign the Teesta deal during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in September is a major setback to the improvement of Indo-Bangla bilateral relationship, he said.

The sooner it is signed the better, the adviser said.

Time is crucial in regard to signing the deal, Rizvi said adding three-fourth people of Bangladesh expect an improved relationship with India.

Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation (ORF) jointly organised the two-day dialogue on Bangladesh-India security, third of its kind, at a city hotel.

Though Indo-Bangla relationship experienced some success and progress in border demarcation, resolution of enclave issue, adversely possessed land, access to Teen Bigha corridor and duty-free export of 98 per cent commodities in recent times, signing of Teesta deal got stalled, said Rizvi.

The relationship could thrive further on water cooperation, joint river basin management and regional connectivity, he said.

Bangladesh and India share common aspiration for secularism, pluralism and peace, he said, and there is no such fundamental issue that should deteriorate the bilateral ties.

Farooq Sobhan, president of BEI, said that collaboration in combating terrorism can provide the bedrock of Indo-Bangla mutual relationship.

MK Rasgotra, president of ORF, said that people of both the countries should push their respective government for open border, free trade and common currency that would automatically resolve many discords in bilateral and regional relationship.

Unfortunately, he said, the Saarc has since the eighties amounted to nothing. It has made enormous progress on papers but not on the ground.

A number of retired ambassadors, former ministers and former government officials attended the dialogue.


21 December, 2011