Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has emphasised need to find solutions to major bilateral issues, including Teesta water sharing between India and Bangladesh without further delay. Her concern was communicated to visiting External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid when he met her on Sunday. She expects India to take a “progressive view” to solve the complexities involved in Teesta water sharing.
Faced with stiff opposition from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, New Delhi failed to sign the Teesta agreement when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Dhaka in 2011.
Mr. Khurshid said India was making efforts to reduce the number of killings along the India-Bangladesh border to “zero level.”
Bangladesh has been demanding that the BSF use non-lethal weapons to deal with suspected criminals and smugglers. Ms. Hasina said it was only to be expected that there would be problems between neighbouring countries, but they must be addressed.
Mr. Khurshid handed over a cheque of $50 million to Ms. Hasina as the first instalment of a $200-million grant by India.
“I am happy to announce that we are ready now to release the first tranche of $50 million of the total grant of $200 million soon for projects of priority to Bangladesh,” Mr. Khurshid said at a joint press briefing after the second meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) on Saturday.
Bangladesh Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith had indicated that the grants would be used for the Padma multipurpose bridge project, as and when they implement the biggest-ever infrastructure project with their own resources. India and Bangladesh signed a $1 billion line of credit in August 2010, of which $200 million was in grants.
Bangladesh Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir said Bangladesh and India exchanged lists of convicts and criminals to be handed them over to their respective countries under the extradition treaty signed in January. The two countries signed the much-awaited agreement in Dhaka on January 28.