Dhaka blames no Teesta deal on Delhi

India has no-one but itself to blame for failure to strike a deal on equitable sharing of Teesta waters, Bangladesh has said.

bdnews24.com
Published : 8 Sept 2011, 06:44 AM
Updated : 22 Jan 2022, 12:29 PM

Dhaka, Sept 8 (bdnews24.com)—India has no-one but itself to blame for failure to strike a deal on equitable sharing of Teesta waters, Bangladesh has said.

But a day after Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh​ left Dhaka capping a two-day visit, The government is still hopeful of a pact within three months.

Foreign secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes told the media on Thursday that India should bear responsibility for the failure.

Asked why the deal did not go through, Quayes said, "The answer is very simple. India informed us that it was no longer prepared to make the deal."

"If a country backs away from an agreement due to some unanticipated development, then that country has to shoulder the responsibility."

The secretary said the previously agreed terms and conditions of the pact would not be changed.

"We have to decide on time and place."

The much hyped deal had to be aborted after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee​, a key ally of the ruling Congress, raised objections.

Manmohan on Wednesday also lamented the failure in his speech at the Dhaka University saying that it was 'unfortunate'.

Evidently referring to India's central government's delicate position, especially regarding Mamata's displeasure with the Teesta agreement, Quayes said, "It is not our job to handle Mamata."

Although the two countries could not strike even an interim deal, the joint statement stressed a quick agreement on fair and equitable basis.

"India informed us in their federal structure, they needed to have more consultation with state government but that does not mean that they won't sign the agreement," Quayes said.

"Our prime minister has expressed the hope that this deal will be sealed within three months."

"We hoped that the West Bengal chief minister would come but she did not. We expect that she would come soon."

Teesta agreement is important for Bangladesh as it would provide a framework for having deals on other common rivers, he said.

TRANSIT

The secretary said both governments discussed trade and connectivity and are working on it.

"Core committee on transit is working on to prepare position paper of the country and after that deals related to transit can be done," he said.

When asked why the letter of intent on transit was not exchanged, he said, "The negotiations have yet to be completed... how will the agreement be signed?"

A day before the arrival of the Indian prime minister, foreign minister Dipu Moni had said at a press briefing that letter would be signed during the visit.

"We need several supplementary instruments and estimation on cost component, opportunity cost of trade lost in northeastern states of India and other things," he said.

Bangladesh is believed to have refused to exchange the transit letter in a tit-for-tat action after Teesta deal was stalled.

CONTINUOUS ENGAGEMENT

The secretary claimed that it was a 'historic visit' as both countries would be engaged in continuous engagement.

"The visit is important but it is not the end in itself," he said adding, "[Manmohan's] presence will strengthen the continuation of engagement between Bangladesh and India."

During the visit, the prime ministers signed a 'visionary framework agreement for the coming years', he said.

People of Dahagram and Angorpota enclaves now have 24-hour unfettered access to Bangladesh and 46 textile-related items got duty-free access to India, he added.

Protocol on land boundary agreement (LBA) was signed under which disputes related to adversely possessed land and exchange of enclaves would be resolved and done simultaneously, Quayes said.

"We are talking about positive engagement now."

When asked about the negotiation 'drama' on LBA protocol, he said "five people look at the same thing in five different perspectives".

"We are engaged in negotiations and both sides have their own perspective. Unless we reach an agreement the negotiation continues," he said.

When asked if he considered the visit as unsuccessful, he said, "We had signed LBA protocol, got unfettered access to Dahagram and Angorpota, market access of 46 products, $760 million worth of projects have been approved under $1 billion line of credit, several MoUs were signed for saving tigers and Sundarbans and had a visionary framework.

"After all these things it is not clear to me why the visit should be unsuccessful."

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Related old stories

• 'Unfortunate', says Manmohan

• A step forward, says Hasina

• No Teesta treaty, no transit

• Joint declaration of Indian PM over Dhaka visit

• Manmohan downplays water pact failure

• Details of Agreements and other MOUs

• Fact Sheet on trade issues

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher