PM Narendra Modi promised an early solution to the vexed Teesta water dispute with Bangladesh. “I firmly believe that it is only my government and excellency Sheikh Hasina, your government, that can and will find an early solution to Teesta water sharing,“ he told the visiting Bangladeshi PM, who is a staunch ally against terrorism.
Given that Hasina faces polls in 2018, Modi's statement has been interpreted to mean that a Teesta pact may be a reality within months. Mamata Banerjee, prime opposition to the pact, was present and had a quiet dinner with Hasina and President Pranab Mukherjee raising hopes of a breakthrough. A joint statement said the two sides would start negotiations on sharing waters of the Feni, Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar rivers.
However, within hours, Mamata flagged her concern, saying a water-sharing pact would lead to water crisis in north Bengal.
India has positioned itself as Bangladesh's premier development partner, investing in the country's development and prosperity .
The two nations signed 22 pacts and India extended a $ 4.5 bn line of credit. They also reaffirmed an old alliance--one that had helped liberate Bangladesh. As Hasina honoured seven Indian soldiers who lay down their lives in 1971, the significance of the gesture was not lost on anyone. In his statement, Modi said, “Every Indian takes pride in the knowledge that Indian soldiers and `vir muktijodha' fought together to liberate Bangladesh from the reign of terror.“ India openly celebrated its role in Bangladesh's war of liberation, as well as much closer relations with Bangladesh, described as “exceptional ... fraternal relationship“ by foreign secretary S Jaishankar.
The two countries signed five defence cooperation agreements, including a $500 million line of credit for defence purchases from India. The defence framework agreement is an enabling pact for all others. India and Bangladesh also signed a civil nuclear agreement. India will play a supporting role in training and supplying components when Bangladesh buys its first nuclear reactor from Russia.
Connectivity was one of the main themes of the summit. India also announced a $4.5 billion line of credit, for which both countries have already identified 17 new projects, including development of three ports (Payra, Mongla and Chittagong), railway and roads.The other key MoUs inked were on passenger and cruise services on the coastal and protocol route, cooperation on cyber security and cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
India and Bangladesh came out strongly against terrorism. A joint statement issued reiterated the “strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terror. ... the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and eliminate terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against states and entities which encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues“.
“We in India rejoice in our ties with Bangladesh.Ties that have been forged in blood and generations of kinship. Ties that seek a better and secure future for our people,“ Modi said at the joint media event with Hasina. The two countries also agreed to confront challenges of terrorism with deeper security and defence cooperation with Modi terming spread of radicalism as a “grave threat“, not only to the two countries but to the entire region.