Prez Pranab wants political consensus on Teesta, land pacts

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Dhaka, March 4: With India failing to ink the Teesta river water-sharing deal and land boundary agreement with Bangladesh due to internal differences, visiting President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday underlined the need for building consensus on the two key issues to improve ties with Dhaka.

Choosing to speak in front of lawmakers who included BJP's Chandan Mitra and Trinamool Congress' Mukul Roy who disagree with the Centre's decision to pass the land boundary agreement and share the waters of Teesta, Mukherjee said over the years India has "developed broad consensus across the political spectrum" on foreign policy issues.

pranab

He said "in a democracy we have divergence of views on many issues but there are some areas where there is a consensus and "developing good relations with Bangladesh is one such area on which there is consensus".

Mukherjee, who was interacting with the Indian community in Bangladesh at a function here this evening, said the relationship with Bangladesh is steady and moving forward and the two countries "are sincerely trying to resolve the issues of demarcation of land boundary and sharing of river waters".

Earlier in the day, in his speech after accepting an honorary doctorate degree of law from Dhaka University, he said the Indian government proposes to introduce a constitution amendment bill in the Parliament to give effect the land boundary agreement and arriving at an early accord on the sharing of Teesta waters.

While BJP President Rajnath Singh on Sunday cautioned the government against counting on his party's support for Parliamentary approval of the land boundary agreement as a bill for this needs constitution amendment and two-thirds majority support, Trinamool Congress has refused to budge from its opposition to Teesta water-sharing deal.

BJP is concerned over loss of Indian land envisaged in the demarcation of land boundary agreement, particularly in Assam and Meghalaya where the party has been up in arms against the accord.

The President's remarks on Teesta and land boundary agreement came after the issues were raised by Jatiya Party President Hussain Muahmmad Ershad who called on him here this afternoon.

Ershad is understood to have conveyed to Mukherjee that signing of the Teesta deal would help Bangladesh in a great way.

The issues were also brought up by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her meeting with Mukherjee last night.

PTI

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