Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday conveyed to visiting President Abdul Hamid that India is keen on solving the long-pending Teesta river water-sharing issue taking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on board.
“We are keen to solve the Teesta issue but we want to keep her [Mamata] on board,” Modi told Hamid when the issue came up during a nearly 20-minute bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi yesterday afternoon, according to Hamid's Press Secretary Joynal Abedin.
Modi made the comments after Hamid told him that the water of Teesta is essential for the economic and social well-being of a large segment of Bangladesh's population, and the river has an important role in the socioeconomic development of his country.
Mamata has been dourly resisting the Teesta treaty ever since she opted out of a trip to Dhaka along with former Indian PM Manmohan Singh in September 2011. There had been no change in her stance even after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had met her in New Delhi in April last year.
On the Rohingya issue, Modi told Hamid that India was very eager to help Bangladesh in speedy repatriation of the refugees and cope with the burden of taking care of the refugees sheltered in camps in Bangladesh, said Joynal.
The Indian PM pointed out that there is the issue of poverty in Rakhine where the socioeconomic development problem has to be addressed, Joynal said.
Modi also commended PM Hasina for honouring the Indian soldiers who fought in the Liberation War of Bangladesh, he added.
Modi paid tribute to Hamid for being a freedom fighter and said he was very happy that Hamid visited Balat and Balam in Meghalaya state three days ago where he had spent several months undergoing arms training and organising refugee camps during the Liberation War.
Spokesperson for Indian External Affairs Ministry Raveesh Kumar tweeted that Modi and Hamid had discussed connectivity and development cooperation among other issues.
“Cementing our bonds with a close friend and a neighbour! PM @narendramodi met President of Bangladesh, Md. Abdul Hamid on the sidelines of the #ISA. Leaders discussed connectivity, developmental cooperation, among other issues,” he tweeted.