Mamata arrives in Bangladesh, visit may boost Teesta pact, LBA

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived here on Thursday on a three-day visit during which she will hold talks with top Bangaldeshi leadership to boost ties, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the Teesta water- sharing pact and ratification of the land boundary agreement.

Dhaka: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived here on Thursday on a three-day visit during which she will hold talks with top Bangaldeshi leadership to boost ties, raising hopes of a breakthrough in the Teesta water- sharing pact and ratification of the land boundary agreement.

Mamata arrived with a 38-member delegation at the Shahjalal International Airport, where she was received by Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam and Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, Pankaj Saran.

On her first visit after she took over as Chief Minister of West Bengal in 2011, Mamata said: "It appears I have come to my own home."

Bangladesh and India were set to ink the Teesta Agreement during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit in 2011 but Mamata precluded herself from his entourage at the last minute opposing the treaty.

The Teesta deal was shelved as Mamata had objected to the proposed quantum of waters, saying it would harm her state.

"We hope that with this visit a conducive environment will be created to resolve the pending issues between Dhaka and Delhi," said Alam ahead of Mamata's visit.

"Legally, the bilateral issues are to be resolved by the central governments. But we believe her visit will make it easier to resolve outstanding issues in future." ?

Several analysts have said her visit would be an 'icebreaker' in Dhaka's virtually strained relationship with Mamata as the trip is expected to make an headway to the ratification of the the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA), an issue over which the West Bengal Chief Minister has earlier expressed her reservation.

Before leaving for Dhaka, Mamata expressed hope that her tour would further strengthen ties between Bangladesh and her state and promote business between the two sides.

"I will carry to Bangladesh the message of enhanced trade links and other exchanges between West Bengal and Bangladesh," she told reporters in Kolkata.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali invited her to join the historic Language Day ceremony in memory of 1952 language martyrs on February 21. The visit is expected to deepen soul-ties with West Bengal.

Mamata is leading a 39-member delegation aimed to boost trade and investment ties between West Bengal and Bangladesh.

She is scheduled to meet Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Foreign Minister.

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