Dhaka: The failure to sign a deal on Teesta
water sharing on Tuesday cast a shadow over the two-day visit of
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here as Bangladesh summoned the
Indian High Commissioner and bluntly conveyed its unhappiness
on the issue.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mijarul Qayes called Indian
envoy Rajeev Mitter to the Foreign Ministry this morning and
sought a clarification on media reports about India deciding
"at the last minute" not to sign the accord, sources here
Mitter is understood to have told Qayes that the
"internal discussions" on Teesta water-sharing in India were
yet to be completed and New Delhi was not in a position now to
ink the pact. He is understood to have expressed regret over
the Teesta deal not coming through.
Mitter, however, conveyed to Qayes that as soon as the
internal discussions were over in India, the deal would be
signed, said the sources.
Qayes, on his part, conveyed to the Indian envoy that the
"last-minute" scrapping of the move to sign the Teesta deal
was "not acceptable".
A spokesman of Bangladesh Foreign Ministry said Qayes
conveyed to Mitter that India`s decision not to ink the
"crucial and long-awaited" Teesta pact is "very frustrating".
Bangladesh, for which the Teesta pact would have been the
most vital event of Singh`s two-day visit, also reportedly
threatened to retaliate by not signing the transit accord with
Private television channels quoting "sources concerned"
ran scrolls saying Dhaka would also postpone a crucial deal on
the cross-border transit that would have allowed India to use
Bangladesh`s southern seaports of Chittagong and Mongla.
The meeting between Qayes and Mitter took place shortly
before Singh arrived here on his maiden bilateral visit during
which the two sides are to sign several deals on a range of
sectors, including border demarcation and exchange of
Earlier, highly-placed Indian sources made it clear that
India and and Bangladesh will not sign a deal on sharing of
waters of Teesta river during Singh`s visit to Dhaka in the
wake of strong reservations to the move voiced by West Bengal
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"The deal on Teesta will not be signed in this visit.
Unless we find something which is acceptable to everybody,
there is no point signing the agreement", the sources told
journalists accompanying Singh to Dhaka this morning.
They said "there is no point of having an agreement just
for the sake of agreement and the Centre has to engage the
West Bengal government more intensively and sit with the
Bangladesh government to thrash out a deal".
"We need more time and need to sit with both West Bengal
government and Bangladesh to arrive at an acceptable
agreement", said the sources.
Asked about reports that Mamata had objected to giving
Bangladesh 33,000 cusecs of water, as mentioned in the final
draft of the interim treaty for Teesta water-sharing instead
of 25,000 cusecs in the initial draft, the sources made it
clear that no figure was mentioned in any draft.