The early implementation of the Teesta water pact and flood management were discussed during the secretary-level meeting of the water resources ministries of India and Bangladesh.
The Indian delegation was led by Pankaj Kumar, secretary, water resources while the Bangladeshi side was led by senior secretary Kabir Bin Anwar.
Bangladesh’s side reiterated their request for an early conclusion of the pact with the Indian side expressing their sincere commitment and continued efforts in this regard.
Water is a state issue in India and elections in the Indian state of West Bengal that borders Bangladesh hold the key to full implementation of the pact. The elections to the West Bengal legislative assembly will take place between March 27 to April 29 with results to announced on May 2.
The Indian high commission in Dhaka in a release said, “both sides commended the close cooperation that exists between India and Bangladesh” on issues related to rivers.
India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. During the almost day-long talks in Delhi, both sides agreed to expand cooperation to include mitigation of pollution, riverbank protection and basin management.
A joint technical working group will provide inputs on the matter. The next talks at the secretary level will be held in Dhaka.
The talks come ahead of PM Modi’s Bangladesh visit later this month. It will be the first visit by PM Modi in more than a year.
PM Modi’s last visit was in November 2019 since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian prime minister hasn’t travelled abroad.