Bangladesh hopeful of river deal with India

Indian villagers catch fish with handmade fishing nets in the River Teesta in Jalpaiguri. Bangladesh says a much-delayed deal over sharing water with India is making progress as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee visits from New Delhi to shore up damaged cross-border ties.

DHAKA :   Bangladesh said Sunday that a much-delayed deal over sharing water with India was making progress as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee visited from New Delhi to shore up damaged cross-border ties.

The deal to share Teesta river water was meant to be a highlight of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka last September, but it fell through after opposition from the chief minister of India’s West Bengal state.

The failure soured relations between India and Bangladesh, where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has staked much political capital in resolving an issue crucial for farmers in the country’s drought-hit north.

“The Indian government is working on the Teesta deal. They are very sincere about it. So we are hopeful that it will be struck,” Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told reporters after talks with Mukherjee.

Mukherjee on Sunday concluded a two-day visit to Bangladesh, where he met with Hasina to review agreements signed during Singh’s visit, including one to end complex border territory disputes.

Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, won independence in 1971 with Indian military help, but relations have been patchy ever since due to decades of mutual mistrust.





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