India signals interest in Bangladesh’s Teesta project eyed by China

india signals interest in bangladesh’s teesta project eyed by china

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina address a joint press conference at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday.

India on Saturday signalled its interest in taking up the conservation of the Teesta river within Bangladesh, a $1-billion project being eyed by China, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina unveiled a slew of initiatives to enhance cooperation in trade, digital issues and connectivity.

Hasina, who was among leaders of seven regional countries invited to the inauguration of Modi’s third term on June 9, returned to New Delhi within a fortnight as the first foreign leader to make a bilateral incoming visit. Officials from both sides said this reflected India’s continued focus on its “Neighbourhood First” policy and the importance of bilateral ties.

Following talks with Hasina, Modi told a joint media interaction that an Indian technical team will soon visit Dhaka for talks on the conservation and management of the Bangladeshi section of the Teesta, one of 54 rivers shared by the two countries.

“Fifty-four shared rivers connect India and Bangladesh. We have been cooperating on flood management, early warning [and] drinking water projects. We have decided to start negotiations at the technical level for renewal of the Ganga Water Treaty of 1996,” he said, speaking in Hindi and referring to a 30-year pact valid until 2026.

People familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that India’s announcement regarding its interest in Bangladesh’s long-pending plan to dredge and develop the Teesta river is significant in view of pressure from China over the project. Beijing has submitted a formal proposal for the project, with an estimated cost of $1 billion, while New Delhi has informed Dhaka about its concerns regarding the work being awarded to any Chinese firm.

With Hasina set to visit China next month, the people said India’s announcement will help her deflect pressure from Beijing over the project. Besides worries about water flow data and other information on the cross-border Teesta river being scooped up by China, India has concerns about Chinese personnel establishing a presence at the project site located near the “chicken’s neck” or narrow strip of land connecting the northeast to the rest of the country.

Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra told a media briefing that the management of shared water resources is a “crucial and sensitive matter”. He added: “Naturally, given our close and friendly ties with Bangladesh, cross-boundary river issues – and Teesta is one of them – become important.”

The two leaders discussed the conservation of the Teesta, which requires a “fair degree of technical management”, Kwatra said. “It’s less about water-sharing per se, it’s more about the management of the water flows within Teesta river,” he said, adding the two leaders agreed that an Indian technical team will undertake efforts to make progress on this issue.

Modi and Hasina signed off on a joint document to guide relations in the coming years – the “India-Bangladesh shared vision for the future: Enhanced connectivity, commerce and collaboration for shared prosperity” – that is aligned with the “Viksit Bharat 2047” and “Smart Bangladesh 2041” visions. The two sides also unveiled two more joint documents detailed shared visions for a digital partnership and green partnership.

“Today, we have prepared a futuristic vision for cooperation in new areas. The youth of both countries will benefit from consensus reached on cooperation in many areas such as green partnership, digital partnership, blue economy [and] space,” Modi said.

“We have kept in our focus connectivity, commerce and collaboration. In the last ten years, we have restored the [physical] connectivity that existed before 1965. Now we will emphasise more on digital and energy connectivity,” he said.

Hasina, speaking in Bengali, said: “In the whole world, we see war and conflict in different regions, but in our subcontinent, we have been able to sustain a wonderful friendly relationship.”

She added, “Even in our cooperation in socio-economic development, I think it was very important for us to get the help of a large economic power like India. It is because of our friendly relations that we have been able to make a lot of progress.”

The two sides announced initiatives to boost connectivity, trade, commerce, and people-to-people exchanges. These include a new passenger train between Kolkata and Rajshahi, the seventh cross-border rail link, the trial run next month of a goods train on Bangladesh Railways from Gede-Darshana to Haldibari-Chilahati cross-border inter-change point, and a new bus service between Kolkata and Chittagong.

India will provide a grant for building an inland container depot at Sirajganj in Bangladesh, and there was a commercial agreement between the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and Bangladesh Bank for launching the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

Following a tripartite agreement concluded last year, the export of 40MW of power from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian grid will begin soon. Bangladesh also joined India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.

In the field of people-to-people exchanges, India announced it will launch e- visas for medical patients from Bangladesh, and open a new assistant high commission at Rongpur, the fifth such mission in Bangladesh.

India will provide 350 training slots for Bangladeshi police officers, and the Muktijoddha Scheme for medical patients, with an upper ceiling of ₹800,000 per patient, was launched.

The two sides also signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) including one between the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) and Bangladesh’s ICT and telecom ministry for jointly developing a small satellite for Bangladesh and sending it into space on an Indian launch vehicle.

There were MoUs on maritime cooperation and the blue economy, railway connectivity, and cooperation on oceanographic research. The two sides further renewed three MoUs on cooperation in health, disaster management and fisheries.

Modi listed the achievements by the two sides in the past year – including the transit of cargo for India’s northeastern states through Bangladesh’s Mongla port, commissioning of both units of the 1,320MW Maitree thermal power plant, and the launch of trade in Indian rupees – and said he and Hasina also discussed ways to strengthen defence cooperation, including the modernisation of Bangladesh’s armed forces. “We have decided to strengthen our engagement on counter-terrorism, de-radicalisation and peaceful management of borders,” he said.

Read more news like this on HindustanTimes.com

OTHER NEWS

2 hrs ago

How to boost your immune system naturally

3 hrs ago

Four Children Die From Suspected Chandipura Virus Infection; Here’s What You Need To Know About The Condition

3 hrs ago

Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma attend Krishna Das kirtan in London - Watch

3 hrs ago

Gill-Jaiswal rewrite India's partnership records during 10 wicket win against Zimbabwe

3 hrs ago

India’s gold industry to create 25,000 jobs, attract Rs 15,000 crore by 2030, says sector report

3 hrs ago

The Kuravas and the 101 Kaurava temples of Kerala

3 hrs ago

PM Modi to Giorgia Meloni: World Leaders condemn assassination attempt on Donald Trump

3 hrs ago

Akshay Kumar Shares Why He Changed His Name From Rajiv Bhatia, His Father Said, 'What's Wrong With You?'

3 hrs ago

Former Madhya Pradesh high court judge Rohit Arya joins BJP

3 hrs ago

Heavy Rain Alert In Entire Nation, See Which Areas Are Likely To Be Affected | ABP News

3 hrs ago

BSNL Launches New Recharge Plan With 395 Days Validity: Check Price, Benefits, And More

3 hrs ago

Emergence of new directors in Kollywood that changed industry norms! - Big Story

3 hrs ago

Supreme Court upholds maintenance for Muslim women, here's a throwback to Shah Bano case

3 hrs ago

A tribute to Varanasi: Nita Ambani's spectacular homage to 'Eternal City' at Anant Ambani & Radhika Merchant's wedding

3 hrs ago

IPOs next week: Four new public issues, one listing to hit primary market; check full list here

3 hrs ago

Radhika Merchant looks breathtaking in hand-painted lehenga at Shubh Aashirwad ceremony

3 hrs ago

After 4 decades, Puri Jagannath Temple’s treasure trove to be opened today; snake experts on standby

3 hrs ago

What Amartya Sen said on 'Juktosadhana' for Hindus and Muslims in India

3 hrs ago

Jasprit Bumrah Said 'Fielder Peeche Le' But Arshdeep Singh Disagreed During T20 World Cup; Here's What Happened Next

3 hrs ago

AITA-CLTA National Series Under-18: Aditya Mor wins singles, doubles title with Aarav Chawla

3 hrs ago

'Not in our values to use such language against someone': KL Sharma backs Rahul Gandhi for slamming trollers of Smriti Irani

4 hrs ago

18th Lok Sabha: Meet the debutants

4 hrs ago

Next round of India-Korea FTA review meeting from July 17 in Seoul

4 hrs ago

Anupam Kher shares videos of PM Modi, Shankaracharyas from Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant's 'Shubh Aashirwad' ceremony

4 hrs ago

Tour de France: Jasper Philipsen edges Wout van Aert in chaotic stage 13 sprint as big crash mars finale

4 hrs ago

Gold and silver prices today on 14-07-2024: Check latest rates in your city

4 hrs ago

Shiva Rajkumar To Star In Ram Charan's Next After Game Changer

4 hrs ago

Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli IN; No MS DHONI In Yuvraj Singh's All-Time XI

4 hrs ago

BMC forecasts heavy to very rainfall accompanied with high tides in Mumbai

4 hrs ago

Inflation is highest in Odisha at 7.22 pc followed by Bihar and Karnataka: SBI research

4 hrs ago

My grandma used to give me 5 tulsi leaves with pepper and honey…

4 hrs ago

Pakistan: Imran Khan’s PTI is all set to emerge as the single-largest party in the country

5 hrs ago

'Our message should be clear…': EAM Jaishankar to BIMSTEC member states

5 hrs ago

After reel by woman, Gwalior authorities lay down norms for shoots, photography

5 hrs ago

No using Nepal against India but important to address pending issues: Oli’s party

5 hrs ago

What is the difference between ITR-1 and ITR-2 forms?

5 hrs ago

BB 3's Bakhtiyaar Irani Says Bigg Boss Contestants Work For Salman Khan: 'Amitabh Bachchan Was Different'

5 hrs ago

'Is It Wrong To...': IAS Officer Puja Khedkar's Father Defends Daughter, Says She Has 40% Visual Impairment

5 hrs ago

Amarnath Yatra: Fresh batch of pilgrims leaves for shrine under intensified security measures

5 hrs ago

Puri Jagannath Temple’s Ratna Bhandar, the chamber of secret, to reopen after 40 years

ALONGWALKER VIETNAM: Kênh khám phá trải nghiệm của giới trẻ, thế giới du lịch ALONGWALKER INDONESIA: Saluran untuk mengeksplorasi pengalaman para pemuda global