Delhi says it's working for Teesta deal with Dhaka

Delhi says it's working for Teesta deal with Dhaka

US has no interest to guide both nations on the issue, says Clinton

On a day the US prodded India and Bangladesh to resolve disputes on sharing of waters of common rivers amicably, New Delhi told Dhaka that efforts were continuing to evolve political consensus within the country for a deal on Teesta river waters.

Though India and Bangladesh were negotiating an agreement for sharing of water of the river Teesta, strong objection from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee forced the Congress-led government at the Centre to put the deal on the backburner.

“India remains committed to an early solution on the issue of sharing of the waters of the Teesta. Since water is a sensitive issue, in accordance with the traditions of consensual decision-making in India’s democratic polity, internal consultations are on amongst stakeholders,” External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told his Bangladesh counterpart Dipu Moni.

Krishna and Moni co-chaired the first meeting on Monday of the Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission, which was set up after the two countries signed the Framework Agreement on Co-operation for Development during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh last September. Though the deal for sharing Teesta water was expected to be signed then, strong objection from Mamata Banerjee forced New Delhi to put it off.

Addressing a joint news conference with Krishna after the meeting of the JCC, Moni called for early signing of the Teesta deal.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the US said on Monday in Kolkata that while Washington had no interest to guide New Delhi and Dhaka on how to clinch the deal on the Teesta, it would like to see the issue being resolved amicably as water was an issue that would increasingly become contentious.

Banerjee withdrew herself from the Prime Minister’s entourage to Dhaka in September 2011 to protest against New Delhi’s move to clinch the deal with Dhaka, as she felt that the proposed Bangladesh-India agreement on the Teesta would adversely hit the northern region of her state.

New Delhi and Dhaka also decided to set up a sub-group of the Joint River Commission to study all aspects of the controversial hydroelectric project at Tipaimukh in Manipur.

Krishna also assured Moni that India’s proposed river-interlinking project would not involve Himalayan rivers and it would not have any adverse downstream impact in Bangladesh.

The Teesta originates from Tso Lhamo lake in Sikkim.

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