Water-sharing deal on 7 rivers likely to be finalised this year: Shringla
No diminishing on commitment on Teesta deal, he says
March 02, 2020, 06:21 PM
Publish- March 02, 2020, 06:21 PM
Update- March 02, 2020, 11:41 PM
Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday said Bangladesh and India are working to finalise an agreement on water sharing of seven common rivers within this year.
“We agreed to expedite harmonization of this data so that water-sharing agreement can be finalized as early as possible, possibly within this year,” he said highlighting the water flow of seven trans-boundary rivers.
On October 5 last year in New Delhi, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart directed the technical level committee of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) to expeditiously exchange updated data and information and prepare the draft framework of ‘interim sharing agreements’ for the six rivers -- Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar -- and to firm up the draft framework of interim sharing agreement of the Feni River.
During the visit, Prime Minister Hasina highlighted that the people of Bangladesh are awaiting early signing and implementation of the framework of interim agreement for the sharing of Teesta water, as agreed upon by both governments in 2011.
Prime Minister Modi informed that his government was working with all stakeholders in India for conclusion of the agreement ‘soonest possible’.
Addressing a seminar in the city, Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla said they can proceed on sharing the waters of other shared rivers so that there is a positive progress that benefits people on both sides.
On Teesta issue, Shringla said there is no diminishing on the commitment of their government on this issue.
He mentioned that the agreement can only be finalized on the basis of consensus among the stakeholders. “We certainly want to assure you we’re working on conclusion of the agreement as early as possible.”
Shringla talked about the management of shared river waters saying, “I know how sensitive this issue is in both of our countries, given that we’re both densely-populated societies with extensive needs and dependence on life-giving rivers that run through our geographies.”
He said it is self-evident that a good arrangement to share the waters of the 54 rivers that unites the two countries in a manner that is fair and environmentally sustainable that lies in “our broader national interests”.
“I’m pleased to say both sides recognise there’s ample room for progress on each of the rivers that we share, and it’s in this spirit that serious dialogue has resumed between our officials responsible for this important matter since August 2019,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary assured Bangladeshi friends that India remains “committed to finding the best possible solutions” to sharing scarcities and hardships fairly during the dry season.
“And to improving water management so that our rivers continue to sustain future generations as they’ve sustained our people for so many millennia,” he said.
Shringla said it is in the spirit of finding common ground rather than being bogged down by a few differences that they have jointly agreed to work to enhance the navigability of waterways that serve as Bangladesh’s historic north-south arteries of connectivity.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said the partnership between the two countries will reach its true potential when they equally recognise that their interests converge and there is a mutuality of benefit.
Shringla delivered the keynote speech at a seminar on "Bangladesh and India: A Promising Future" at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
The Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Indian High Commission in Dhaka jointly organised the event.
Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi spoke as the chief guest at the seminar highlighting the relationship between the two countries.
BIISS Chairman Ambassador Fazlul Karim, Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das and acting Director General of BIISS Colonel Sheikh Masud Ahmed also spoke at the programme.