India committed to Rohingya return, water sharing: Jaishankar

Staff Correspondent

21 August, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday said his country was committed to see the return of the displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar and sharing of water of 54 rivers.

 “We have agreed that safe, speedy and sustainable return of the displaced persons is the national interest of all the three countries — Bangladesh, Myanmar and India,” he said.

Jaishankar’s comments came during a joint briefing with his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guest house Jamuna in the capital after holding a bilateral meeting.

During the meeting, the Indian minister reaffirmed his country’s readiness to provide more assistance for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya people.   

“We reaffirm our readiness to provide all assistances to repatriate the displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh and to improve socio-economic condition in Rakhine state”.

The two ministers touched upon almost all the issues of bilateral and international interests.

About the water-sharing Teesta issue, Jaishankar said water resources is an important subject for Bangladesh and they look forward to making its progress through a mutually acceptable formula for 54 common rivers.

“We are ready to make a start wherever possible,” he added. Responding to a question regarding the issue, the Indian minister said, “We have a position you are aware of. We have a commitment on that position and it has not changed.”

He said India’s partnership with Bangladesh remains an example of what neighbours can do if they work together as two partners.

He said the Indian government led by Narendra Modi is determined to ensure that this partnership is truly a role model for South Asia as well as for the whole 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.

“Two countries will benefit mutually if the partnership between Bangladesh and India grows”, he added.

Narrating the strong connectivity between the two countries, Jaishankar said they will utilise the partnership in all aspects to realize potential of connectivity.

“We have many energy-sharing projects, which we are discussing, including private and public sector partnership,” he added.

On bilateral trade, the Indian minister mentioned that they are ready to move to the next stage of economic partnership as Bangladesh’s economy develops and matures.

Pledging to take bilateral ties between the two countries to a new height, he said India is one of the major development partners of Bangladesh and his country will give all possible supports to its next-door neighbour for its development.

On people-to-people contact, Jaishankar said India operates the largest consular service in Dhaka and it will make seamless.

Meanwhile, a foreign ministry press statement said two ministers discussed the preparatory measures in relation to the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in October, during which a number of MoUs are expected to be signed.

In the meeting, they also reviewed ongoing cooperation, including the implementation of decisions taken at the last meeting of the Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) held in New Delhi in February, 2019.

Jaishankar arrived in Dhaka on Monday night in a courtesy visit, first after becoming the minister.

The Indian minister started his official engagements on Tuesday morning by paying homage to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

He placed a wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32. He will leave Dhaka this morning.