India assures Bangladesh over Teesta water sharing treaty

Dhaka, June 12: India today assured Bangladesh that efforts were on to build a domestic consensus on Teesta water sharing treaty and the ratification of the land boundary agreement by accommodating the views of all stakeholders.

"Historically speaking, our relations have gone through ups and downs and this has perhaps made us more mature and better equipped to deal with problems as they arise," Indian envoy Pankaj Saran told journalists at the National Press Club.

Asked for comments on the unresolved issues of the common Teesta water sharing treaty, Saran said New Delhi remained committed to solve the problems as efforts were now underway to accommodate the views of all the stakeholders in the process. He said for the first time in history, the two countries last year exchanged data of the water flow in the common river as part of the process to reach an agreement.

"Basic changes have taken place with regard to 'understanding', but we are yet to see the implementation of many agreed matters like the LBA (land boundary agreement) or the Teesta water sharing issue on which (West Bengal Chief Minister) Mamata Banarjee stood as an obstacle," Saran said.

He said the passage of time also made Dhaka and New Delhi more self confident as their institutions developed in course of time. He further added that the two nations must now "learn to work together, solve problems together, and cooperate". "It is high time we fight the (common) challenges together," Saran said adding both the countries "are here to stay and neither of us is going anywhere".

"When we cooperate on a certain set of issues, it does not follow that via this cooperation, we somehow sacrifice our sovereignty... India respects the sovereignty, the territorial integrity and the independence of Bangladesh," Saran said. The envoy said New Delhi believed its relations with Dhaka "has touched the lives of ordinary citizens on both sides and (so) whatever we do has to be for their benefit". "We both benefit from working together to maximise our gains and if we do this through a cooperative approach, we both stand to gain."


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