Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday said Bangladesh and India are working to find “mutually acceptable formulas” to share water from 54 shared rivers with keeping India’s commitment to resolving Teesta issue unchanged.
“We look forward to making a progress to find mutually acceptable formulas to share water from our 54 shared rivers,” he told reporters adding that they are ready to make a start wherever it is possible.
Asked about long-pending Teesta water-sharing matter, Jaishankar said there has been no change regarding their commitment to resolve the issue. “We’ve a position. You all are aware of it. We’ve a commitment on that position. And there’s no change in that regard.”
The Indian External Affairs Minister and his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen briefed the journalists after their bilateral meeting at state guesthouse Jamuna that lasted for over an hour from 11:10m.
On Rohingya issue, Jaishankar said they agreed that the “safe, speedy and sustainable” return of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State is in the national interest of the three countries -- Bangladesh, Myanmar and India.
“We reaffirmed our readiness to provide more assistance for the displaced persons in Bangladesh and to improve socioeconomic condition in Rakhine State,” he said.
Responding to a question on National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, the Indian External Affairs Minister said this is an “internal matter” for India.
Jaishankar said India’s partnership with Bangladesh remains an example of what neighbours can do if they work together as two partners.
He said the government led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to ensure that this partnership is truly a role model in South Asia and for the world.
The Indian minister said they would like to offer all possible support to realise Bangladesh’s development agenda which is in India’s interest as well.
Terming the ties is now in “golden age”, he said the two countries will benefit mutually if the partnership between Bangladesh and India grows.
Jaishankar said the two countries have a very important shared history and they look forward to sharing Bangladesh’s celebrations of birth centenary of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence in 2021.
Through the visit, the Indian minister said they signal publicly the importance they attach to the relationship ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India. “This is such an important relationship.”
Jaishankar said the improved partnership against crimes, extremism and terrorist groups will have direct benefits to the people of the two countries when it comes to security issue.
In terms of connectivity, he said they will step up this partnership to realise all the potential of connectivity.
“We’ve many energy-sharing projects which we’re discussing, including private and public sector partnership,” he added.
On trade issues, Jaishankar said they are ready to move to the next stage of economic partnership as Bangladesh’s economy develops and matures. “We’ll make progress at a phase which is comfortable for Bangladesh.”
On people-to-people contact, he said the largest consular operation of India is now in Bangladesh and they are very proud of that.
Dr Momen they had a very good discussion on many issues and have a consensus on almost all those discussed issues.
He said they are satisfied with the discussion and hoped for better days ahead.
Jaishankar who arrived here on Monday night on a three-day official visit to Bangladesh said the two countries have many things to discuss to take the relationship between the two neighbouring countries to a higher level.
"We’ve a very good relationship. We’ve a very strong relationship. We’ve many things to discuss about taking the relationship to a higher level," he said while talking to reporters after his arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Before the meeting, the Indian minister visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32 and paid tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait there.
Dr Momen hosted lunch in honour of his Indian counterpart after the meeting.
The Indian Foreign Minister is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence around 5pm on Tuesday.
Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Riva Ganguly Das will host private dinner for Jaishankar on Tuesday evening.
He will leave Dhaka for Kathmandu on Wednesday morning.
India is a leading development partner of Bangladesh as it has extended concessional lines of credit to the tune of around 8 billion US dollars.