PM assures progress in Teesta talks

Invites Mamata for lunch to convince her

PM assures progress in Teesta talks

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday assured his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina of his efforts to resolve the row over sharing the water of Teesta during her current term.

“I assure you and the people of Bangladesh of our commitment and continuing efforts (to conclude negotiation on a bilateral pact for sharing of water of Teesta). I firmly believe that it is only my government and Excellency Sheikh Hasina, your government, that can and will find an early solution to Teesta water sharing,” Modi told Hasina at the Hyderabad House here.

Hasina’s term will conclude by the end of 2018, while Modi’s tenure will end in the middle of 2019. Teesta originates from Tso Lhamo lake in Sikkim. The river is the lifeline for Sikkim and several districts of West Bengal.

The 315-km long river joins Brahmaputra after entering Bangladesh. The negotiations between India and Bangladesh for a water-sharing agreement for Teesta was stalled after West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee opposed the deal in 2011, alleging that it would be detrimental to the interest of the farmers in the northern region of her state.

Mamata joined Modi and Hasina for lunch at the Hyderabad House. Modi apparently invited Mamata to persuade her on lifting the objections on the proposed deal. Mamata was also present when the two prime ministers addressed the media.

“I am very happy that the chief minister of West Bengal is my honoured guest today. I know that her feelings for Bangladesh are as warm as my own,” said Modi.

Hasina has been asking New Delhi to end the impasse over Teesta, as it has become a major political issue in Bangladesh.

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