03 August 2020

Teesta treaty likely in agenda in PM’s India visit

File photo: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - Photo Desk

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to visit India in October as her maiden visit to New Delhi after assuming office for the third consecutive term earlier this year, Foreign Minister Dr A K Momen said on Sunday.

“We are expecting the visit to take place in first week of October …. We will fix the date and agenda after Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s (planned) Dhaka tour later this month,” state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency quoted the minister as saying Sunday evening.

Momen said his Indian counterpart was set to arriving in Dhaka on August 20 on a two-day visit and Dhaka and New Delhi would accomplish some formalities regarding his visit.

Asked what would be the agenda of the two premiers meeting, the foreign minister said the foreign ministries of the two countries would prepare the agenda covering all bilateral and regional issues including sharing of water in 54 common rivers and the Teesta in particular.

“In principle we agreed (to sign the Teesta agreement) … but it is being delayed due to objection of West Bengal,” he said.

Momen, however, said Dhaka was always hopeful about the deal but simultaneously feared it could be delayed further until the Indian central government reached a consensus with the West Bengal state government.

He said the Rohingya crisis was also likely to be an issue of the summit while New Delhi by now conveyed Dhaka that the repatriation process should start immediately.

“I am confident the process of repatriation will be soon,” he said adding that major Myanmar allies including India, China and Japan extended their effective support to Bangladesh.

Momen said he recently met the Indian foreign minister in Bangkok who said New Delhi already talked to Myanmar’s government and particularly its military authorities and urged them to bring back Rohingyas in soonest possible time.

“The Indian foreign minister told me to start the process of repatriation as early as possible,” he said.

Referring to meetings with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts, Momen said all of them wanted to see Rohingya’s return to Rakhine.

Earlier at his office during an interaction with newsmen, Momen said his office was working to bring back one or two self-declared fugitive killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Canada or the USA before Bangabandhu’s birth centenary by this year.

“We want to bring back one or two (fugitive killers) by this year,” he said.


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