India reiterates commitment on Teesta, zero killing at border

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News Desk

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on 15th February (Wednesday) said New Delhi reiterated its commitment to ink the long pending Teesta water sharing deal and ensure zero killing on porous borders as he held talks with his Indian counterpart Vinay Kwatra.

“They (India) assured that Indian central government is committed to sign the Teesta treaty though the difference between New Delhi and the state government (West Bengal) regarding the deal is yet to be resolved,” he said in a media briefing after talks with Kwatra.

Masud added that the Indian side also expressed their willingness to reduce to zero the borer killing incidents saying they also “don’t want to see a single death along the Bangladesh-India frontiers”.

Masud and Kwatra led Bangladesh and India sides at the Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) at Foreign Service Academy earlier on Wednesday.

The top bureaucrat of Bangladesh’s foreign office said Dhaka strongly raised the border killing issue, reiterating its demand to reduce the killing along the frontier at zero level.

He said both the sides agreed as well for enhanced vigil of two border forces to reduce smuggling to check any tragic incident.

Masud said the Bangladesh side also sought Indian support to remove all existing trade barriers on Indian part and to ensure smooth supply of commodities to Bangladesh.

According to Masud regional energy cooperation largely featured their talks while “we sought Indian support so that we can bring hydro power from Nepal and Bhutan smoothly”.

The Indian side, he said, assured their cooperation regarding the issue and suggested Bangladesh to increase capacity of its electricity transmission line to ensure full utilization of cross-boundary power.

“We will inform the matter to relevant ministry, so that we can utilize the clean power as soon as we get it from Nepal,” Masud said.

Bangladesh currently imports 1160 MW power from India while the foreign secretary said Dhaka expected more quantum of power to be imported from India in near future.

Masud said Dhaka also sought enhanced Indian support in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

He said Bangladesh side also expressed its hope that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would play a constructive role by joining the G20 summit to be held in New Delhi under Indian presidency in September this year.

Masud said the Indian foreign secretary informed the FOC that New Delhi attached highest priority to its relations with Dhaka under its Neighbourhood First policy.

The Bangladesh foreign secretary said they also discussed about the projects those are planned to be implemented under the Indian line of credit.

The Indian High Commission in Dhaka, meanwhile, said Kwatra and Masud held wide-ranging discussions covering all aspects of bilateral relationship during the FOC.

Both sides agreed to further strengthen ongoing bilateral cooperation, in diverse areas, including the Government of India-funded concessional Lines of Credit, trade and investment, connectivity, power and energy, defence and security, and people-to-people ties, it added.

They also agreed to enhance their cooperation and consultations on regional and international issues of shared interest.

“In this context, India looks forward to active participation of Bangladesh as the Guest Country at various events during India’s presidency of G-20,” read the statement.

Both sides also agreed to extend reciprocal support to each other’s upcoming candidature for Non-Permanent membership of the UN Security Council, it added.

In recent years, the statement said, especially in the last decade, India and Bangladesh sustained high level of engagement, including at the leaders’ level.

The Indian foreign secretary arrived here last evening to lead the Indian side at the FOC, the last of which was held in New Delhi on January 29, 2021.

Kwatra also called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen.

It is the maiden Bangladesh visit of Kwatra after assuming the office as Indian foreign secretary on May 1 in 2022.

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