Dhaka seeks Delhi's help in dredging
Pending a solution to sharing of the waters of common rivers including the Teesta, Bangladesh yesterday sought India's help for dredging and re-excavating those rivers to ensure irrigation in the lower riparian country.
Raising the issue during her talks with Indian Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat here, visiting Agriculture Minister of Bangladesh Matia Chowdhury cited the example of Japanese assistance for Bangladesh in building irrigation facilities. She mentioned that India too can chip in with its expertise in the area in a similar manner.
Talking to newsmen, she said the issue of the proposed Teesta water-sharing deal came up for discussion in the meeting. The Indian minister said his government was continuing its efforts to evolve a consensus on the issue.
"While we want India to give due importance to a deal on sharing of Teesta waters, efforts should also be made to augment availability of water for irrigation in the common rivers flowing in the Bangladesh territory," noted Matia.
Responding to a question on the flurry of visits by an array of Bangladeshi leaders to India in recent months, she welcomed the trend. "It's a global village we are living in and it is but natural that there will be more and more interaction even between people who used to shun each other."
Indian Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar hosted a lunch for Matia.
The two ministers discussed Indian expertise for growing water-resistant crops in Bangladesh and increasing the number of scholarships for Bangladeshi agricultural scientists.
Later, noted Indian agricultural scientist Dr M S Swaminathan met the Bangladeshi minister at a hotel and discussed potential areas of cooperation between the two countries in agriculture and irrigation.
Late on Tuesday night, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon had a meeting with Matia. They discussed security cooperation between India and Bangladesh.
Bangladesh, India and Pakistan face the common problem of extremism and the neighbouring countries should cooperate with each other to end this, she observed.