Foreign Minister Mahmud calls for ban on deadly weapons at border with India

The foreign minister spoke with Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his first bilateral visit abroad

Published : 8 Feb 2024, 07:11 PM
Updated : 8 Feb 2024, 07:11 PM

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud has highlighted several unresolved issues, such as the killing of a Bangladeshi border guard and the Teesta water-sharing deal in a discussion with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.

“There should be a solution [to the water-sharing deal] after the Indian general election,” he told the media at a discussion in Delhi on Thursday.

Mahmud arrived in New Delhi around midnight on Tuesday. It is the first trip to India by a representative of the Bangladesh government since the Jan 7 polls.

The foreign minister met Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at New Delhi’s Sardar Patel Bhawan on Wednesday morning. He then held bilateral meetings with Jaishankar at the Hyderabad House that evening.

He attended a discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club of South Asia on Thursday evening titled ‘Bangladesh-India Current Relations’, where he fielded questions from journalists.

One question was regarding the killing of a Bangladeshi border guard on Jan 22 by gunfire from India’s Border Security Force (BSF) near the Benapole border in Jashore.

Early that morning, a patrol of Border Guard Bangladesh had stopped a group of cattle smugglers crossing in from India and challenged them. The smugglers then fled towards India. Sepoy Mohammad Roishuddin chased after them and was separated from the rest of his patrol amid the thick fog.

He was reportedly injured by BSF fire and died at a hospital in India. A flag meeting was held and the body of the sepoy was returned to Bangladesh.

Reports said the Bangladesh government sent a letter of protest and a demand for a fair investigation into the incident.

Asked whether the issue had come up during the meeting with Jaishankar, Mahmud said it had been discussed. There was also a discussion of an end to the use of deadly weapons at the border, he added.

The investigation into the death is ongoing, the minister said.

“India and Bangladesh have many issues. We have issues at the border, and both of us are working to handle the Myanmar issue. Bangladesh is sheltering 1.2 million Rohingya displaced from Myanmar.”

Asked about the Teesta water-sharing deal, Mahmud said he believes there will be a resolution to the longstanding issue following the election.

“We discussed the Teesta,” he said. “The central government has no objections on the matter. However, the objections are coming from the state government. You will have an election. The election process will start next month and the election will be held in April or May. So, it will be after the election.”

“I spoke to the external affairs minister on the matter and it should be taken into consideration. I believe that we should be able to find a solution.”