Taking into account the “complexities” regarding the sharing of the waters of the Teesta, India is willing to work with Bangladesh on other rivers, High Commissioner of India Vikram Doraiswamy said on Monday.
Addressing a press conference in Dhaka, the envoy hinted at the role of West Bengal’s government in the negotiations and said Delhi was not the “sole” stakeholder from the Indian side on the matter.
“Given the complexities of Teesta and in terms of domestic challenges, arrangements on other rivers can move forward in a much faster way. I think we should put in a lot of efforts on that. Our government is committed at the highest level to completing Teesta [agreement]. Our friends need to understand that this is not a matter on which any government in Delhi has the sole or single say,” said Mr Doraiswamy.
Sharing of the Teesta’s waters has been a long-standing issue between the two sides and, despite repeated assurances from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the talks have not moved ahead because of obvious lack of support from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“This does require to bring all the stakeholders on board. This is a process and we have tried very hard. We will continue to try. We understand and acknowledge the importance of sharing water,” said Mr. Doraiswamy at the press conference which also dealt with the planned visit of Prime Minister Modi to Dhaka when he will participate in the Independence Day celebrations of Bangladesh on March 26.
India and Bangladesh share approximately 54 rivers, but it is the Teesta which remains a major issue, as Bangladesh claims that it is not getting proper share of its waters. The issue is expected to come up again during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Dhaka.