Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pankaj Saran on Monday said there has been a silent progress over the long-pending Teesta water-sharing issue behind the scene and this will happen soon like the settlement of Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between the two countries.
“I think it’s better to work quietly behind the scene rather than advertise the progress,” he told a country lecture titled ‘Recent Developments in Bangladesh-India Bilateral Relations and Its Prospects’ in the city.
The diplomat confidently said it will happen because that is something which both sides want to settle quickly, UNB reports.
Describing water as a big and broad area, the High Commissioner said once both the countries get some confidence boost-up with Teesta than perhaps other areas related to water management will become easier to deal with. “I think this going to be next focus we seem to heading towards that direction.”
On frequent talks at summit level, Saran said the culture of telephone call at summit level (Prime Ministers of two countries) is very, very useful instrument, to discuss various issues.
He said it does not have to be the case only to talk to each other during crisis rather it should be a practice during both good times and bad times. “We can have another summit meeting between the two Prime Ministers, and there’s an invitation for the Bangladesh Prime Minister. We believe that visit can take place,” the diplomat said.
On Felani case, he said obviously the Felani incident was the most ‘unfortunate’ incident in relationship between India and Bangladesh.
“Border has to be peaceful,” he said adding that over the last three years several measures have been taken to prevent border killings.
He said both countries need to have device ways and means to ensure better coordination and understanding the border forces of the two countries. “Border killing has gone down as the trend indicates. We want to bring it down to zero,” he added.
On illegal activities along the border, the High Commissioner said smuggling of cows is one of the single biggest sources of illegal activities and it leads to many problems and crimes. “It’s a well-known secret.”
These activities not only cause illegal monetary transaction, it also leads to the use of counterfeit currency, narcotics and other drugs and trafficking of weapons, he said.
“We need to think how the scale of illegal activities can be brought to legal domain,” Saran said.
About security issues, the diplomat said as far as India is concerned, it will ensure that there is no activity whatsoever which has detrimental impact on the security peace and stability of Bangladesh.
On connectivity issues, Pankaj Saran said, “Do we have another choice? In my view, we don’t. We simply have to be ambitious, optimistic, and we have to plan accordingly.”
He said much time has been wasted and both countries need to catch up. “We should be able to make up the lost times.”
Pankaj said it (relation with Bangladesh) is one of the most important ties that India has today with any country in the word. “These relations are receiving the highest level of attention today in India.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Indian High Commissioner said the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June this year established new equations in the relations.
“It showed the relationship had gone beyond continuity. There was a feeling whether there will be continuity of India’s policy towards Bangladesh. We just have tried to be more ambitious,” he said.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) arranged the country lecture in its conference room with its Chairman Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad in the chair. BIISS Director General Maj Gen AKM Abdur Rahman also spoke.