The sudden withdrawal by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the team accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh was a bit shocking (“Mamata plays spoiler,” editorial, Sept. 7). Whatever the misgivings over the sharing of the Teesta river waters, the issue could have been sorted out before Dr. Singh's departure to begin an important bilateral visit.

S.D. Mukherji, Hyderabad

Ms Banerjee's decision was a little disappointing especially at a time when the prospects of stepped up bilateral relations with Bangladesh looked bright. Differences and disagreements are best sorted out through quiet diplomacy and away from the glare of the media.

Aneesh Hegde, Bangalore

The Teesta apart, Ms Banerjee should have realised that there are other important bilateral problems like enclaves, trans-border trade and extradition of criminals. She could have pursued a policy of give and take. The eastern part of India too has numerous problems that need attention.

S.K.Vijayan, Alappuzha

Ms Banerjee may have derailed a golden opportunity to improve our troubled relationship with Bangladesh. Why didn't she express her displeasure to Dr. Singh much earlier?

Muan Hangzo, New Delhi

The maiden bilateral visit to Bangladesh in 12 years would definitely have crafted a new relationship, particularly important for the stability and prosperity of the north-eastern States. In a bilateral agreement over river water, both sides have to share the bliss and negative aspects of Mother Nature. The Bangladesh Prime Minister is also a woman and Ms Banerjee could have stolen the limelight and used it to her advantage. Perhaps, she should have realised that the conduct of foreign policy cannot be held hostage to the compulsions of competitive domestic politics. There could have been an amicable solution to the Teesta issue if it was discussed face-to-face with our counterparts in Bangladesh.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee, Faridabad

Now that relations between the two countries have thawed a little, Ms Banerjee's boycott may have been unnecessary and unwise. She should have been a part of the delegation and reviewed the situation of the farmers of Bangladesh.

John Paul L., Thiruvanthapuram

To put it mildly, whatever the nature and magnitude of domestic political compulsions, Ms Banerjee's last minute boycott has made us bow our heads in shame.

K.D. Viswanaathan, Coimbatore

Ms Banerjee's decision has certainly weakened the authority of Dr. Singh visiting a neighbouring country, which has always had expectations from Big Brother India. We have failed in winning the trust of our smaller neighbours. One can understand the reasons for our turbulent relations with Pakistan, but why we do not have good ties with Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and even the Maldives? Did Ms Banerjee fail to realise the larger picture?

Biranchi Narayan Acharya, Cuttack

Ms Banerjee's bold decision to pull out of the visit may have taken us by surprise, but it is good to know that there are politicians who care for their people's welfare and who have certain convictions and principles. She has stood her ground, refusing to compromise on her reservations about the sharing of river water.

Wilson Saldanha, Thiruvananthapuram

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