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21 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Assam NRC India’s internal issue, says Jaishankar

No shift in position on Teesta deal

Says Indian foreign minister as Dhaka, Delhi sift for acceptable formula to share water of common rivers
No shift in position 
on Teesta deal

Terming the Bangladesh-India partnership as ‘role model’ for South Asia and the world, visiting Indian external affairs minister Dr S. Jaishankar yesterday said both the counties were looking forward to finding mutually acceptable formulas to share water from 54 shared rivers. Asked about water sharing of the trans-boundary river Teesta, he said, “We have a position. We are all aware of it. We have a commitment on that position and there is no change in that regard.”

Jaishankar came up with the statement at a joint press briefing after holding talks with Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at the State Guest House, Jamuna, in the capital. Terming the relationship between the two countries ‘productive’, the Indian external affairs minister said, “Water resources are an important subject. We look forward to making progress to find mutually acceptable formulas to share water from our 54 shared rivers. We are ready to make a start wherever possible.”

Regarding the Rohingya people, he said, “We understand the issue of the displaced persons from Myanmar. We agreed that the speedy and sustainable return of displaced persons was in the national interest of all three countries—Bangladesh, Myanmar and India.”

“We reaffirmed our readiness to provide more assistance to the displaced persons in Bangladesh and to improve social, economic conditions in the Rakhine State. You are all aware we have handed over 250 houses last month in that context.”

Asked about the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, a matter of concern for Bangladesh, as its implementation would leave out many from the list and they would be sent to Bangladesh, he said, “This is an internal matter of India.”

Regarding the purpose of the visit, he said, “This is my first visit to Bangladesh as external

affairs minister. And the purpose of this visit is to affirm what has been a very strong partnership as well as to prepare for your prime minister’s visit to India and to signal publicly the importance that we attach to the relationship.”

“We see the India-Bangladesh relationship as very much a model. Our ties have actually transcended the strategic partnership. And we are honoured to be a leading development partner of Bangladesh. We would like to offer all possible support to realise Bangladesh’s development agenda. This is India’s interest as well,” he added.

 “We believe, this is today the ‘golden age’ in India-Bangladesh ties and that is thanks to the vision and statesmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he continued.

Jasishankar visited Bangladesh several times as the Indian foreign secretary but this time he came here as India’s external affairs minister to make reaffirm the exemplary relationship between the two countries.

Regarding the security issues, he said, “This improved partnership against crime, extremism and terrorist groups is a direct benefit to the people of both countries.”

In terms of connectivity, he said, “The increased connectivity in air, sea, waterways, surface transport generates growth and income for both sides. We would like to step up this partnership and realise all the potentials of connectivity.”

“Energy has been another very important aspect of our partnership. We have steps for each other’s success. We have many energy-sharing projects which we are discussing, including public and private sector partnership and we hope to take those forward,” he added.

About trade, he said, “We are ready to know the next stage of our economic partnership as Bangladesh’s economy develops and matures and we will make progress at a pace that is comfortable for Bangladesh.”

About the people-to-people ties, he said, “Our largest consular operations in the world today are in Bangladesh. And we are proud of that. We want to make travel as seamless as possible for a Bangladeshi friend to visit us.”

“We have a very important shared history. We look forward to sharing your celebration of the centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh,” he continued.

Reaffirming the partnership with Bangladesh, he said, “The government of Prime Minister Modi is determined to ensure that this partnership is truly a role model in South Asia and for the world.”

 AK Abdul Momen said, “We have had a very warm meeting. We have discussed a number of issues. We have roughly reached a consensus on these issues.”

“We are happy and delighted about holding a good meeting and look forward to better days. The Indian foreign minister said India wants to take the relationship between the two countries to a higher level. We are satisfied with discussions we had,” he added.

Earlier, Jasishankar paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing floral wreaths at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the capital.

When he reached there in the morning, Bangladesh state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam welcomed him. Indian high commissioner in Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das was present on the occasion.

 Jaishankar visited the museum and signed the visitor’s book as well. He will leave Dhaka for Katmandu on Wednesday after ending his three-day maiden visit to Bangladesh.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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