HomePolitics and Current AffairsTeesta water sharing issue to be raised during Hasina-Modi talks in Delhi

Teesta water sharing issue to be raised during Hasina-Modi talks in Delhi

WATHCH OUT Layek Uzzaman

“We have the issue of Teesta sharing that the Prime Minister will certainly raise. We have other issues. We have 54 common rivers,” Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told reporters on Sunday in Dhaka, adding that the Ganges water treaty is another issue that will expire soon.

The Bangladesh- Ganges water-sharing deal was signed in 1996 after long negotiations. The 30-year deal will expire by 2026. Responding to a question, the Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh and India had always discussed the Teesta issue at the highest political level. “We always kept it on the discussion agenda. This time too, we expect the Prime Minister will talk about it.”

Bangladesh thinks the water-sharing issues between the two countries would be resolved through discussions as the two countries are “mentally agreed” to work based on mutual understanding.

Recalling earlier discussions, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated Bangladesh's long-pending request for concluding the interim agreement on the sharing of the waters of the Teesta River, the draft of which was finalized in 2011. During PM Hasina's state visit to India in September last year, both leaders also directed the officials to work together to address issues such as pollution in rivers and to improve the riverine environment and river navigability concerning common rivers.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's participation at the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9-10 will add yet another feather to the ‘Golden Chapter' in Dhaka-Delhi ties. The bilateral between Prime Minister Hasina and her Indian counterpart Modi will be held during her visit to India. Earlier, the Foreign Secretary attended a follow-up discussion on Bangladesh's 10 commitments made at the 2023 UN Water Conference. Talking to reporters, he said they mainly discussed how to implement those commitments and how the development partners can help Bangladesh in this process.

The Foreign Secretary said most of the commitments will be fulfilled by 2030 and many countries of the world made their commitments separately. The UN 2023 Water Conference saw the adoption of the Water Action Agenda, representing the voluntary commitments of nations and stakeholders to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets connected to water.

The event brought together over 6,500 participants. By the close of the meeting, the Water Action Agenda had received approximately 700 commitments in the form of financial pledges, collaborative projects, and actions to protect the world's most precious and irreplaceable resource.

The Foreign Secretary said water is an important factor for livelihood and sustainability and they discussed issues related to the coastal area, salinity problems, groundwater level declining, plastic pollution, agriculture water wastages, rainwater harvesting and ways to boost efficiency in water management. He said there are reasons to be worried after a few years and laid emphasis on cooperation and resource mobilization‡

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