Indian FM to talk to Mamata
India's External Affairs Minister SM Krishna is expected to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress in Kolkata to discuss the proposed Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh.
Krishna would also discuss with Mamata how to implement the agreement on land boundary demarcation and an exchange of adversely-possessed enclaves between India and Bangladesh, sources in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) said yesterday.
Both the issues came up as part of the government's agenda at a meeting of the coordination committee of India's ruling Congress-led UPA here on Wednesday night, the sources said.
The signing of the Teesta deal and implementation of the land boundary agreement were very important for taking forward relations between India and Bangladesh, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said at the meeting.
In response, Mamata, who also attended the meeting, said she had set up a committee headed by leading hydrologist Kalyan Rudra to study the water flow in the Teesta and that more discussions were needed on sharing the water of the river as well as on the land boundary accord.
Sources quoted her as saying that her party's concerns over the deals needed to be addressed.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then said that Krishna, at present away from Delhi, would visit Kolkata and hold talks with Mamata and other Trinamool Congress leaders on the issues.
Krishna is unlikely to visit Kolkata before September as he has to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit which will begin on August 28 in Tehran.
The Teesta agreement could not be signed in September last year when Manmohan visited Dhaka due to Mamata's last-minute reservations.
The Trinamool Congress is also concerned about the land boundary agreement as it involves West Bengal's territory. The agreement, signed during Manmohan's Dhaka visit, needs to be approved by the Indian parliament with a two-thirds majority after a bill on it is introduced in the Lok Sabha.
The UPA lacks a two-thirds majority in parliament. While the Bangladesh government has repeatedly been pressing for a signing of the Teesta deal and an implementation of the land boundary agreement, the Indian leadership has maintained that efforts are on to reach a consensus on the issues.