Bangladesh asks India to fast-track land accord, Teesta pact (Lead)

July 25th, 2012 - 1:18 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) India Tuesday assured Bangladesh that it will ratify the land boundary agreement after forging a consensus as Dhaka agreed to allow New Delhi more time to complete internal consultations to sign the stalled Teesta pact.

Imparting a renewed momentum to bilateral ties, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai held wide-ranging discussions with his Bangladesh counterpart Mohamed Mijarul Quayes.

“The two diplomats held talks in cordial and constructive atmosphere,” Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, said here after the talks.

Matai and Quayes had comprehensive discussions on a range of issues, including cooperation in political and security-related matters, border management, counter-terrorism, power, connectivity and trade and investment, he added.

The two foreign secretaries also decided to fast-track a host of bilateral projects being implemented under $1 billion line of credit given to Bangladesh nearly two years ago.

At the meeting, the Bangladesh side raised the issue of the stalled pact on Teesta water-sharing which could not be signed last year because of fierce opposition by United Progressive Alliance constituent Trinamool Congress.

“From the discussions I have had so far, the sense I get is that India is serious to sign the agreement sooner than later,” Quayes told reporters to queries about the fate of the Teesta accord.

“Things appear to be moving forward to the agreement and Bangladesh wants to give space to India to finish its internal consultations on the Teesta issue,” he added “We have been told about India’s internal consultations on the issue and we are looking forward to the completion of that process”.

“It is not right to ask when the agreement will be signed. I’m not talking about any timeline,” he said to queries whether the two sides have decided on a timeline for signing the Teesta pact.

Mathai told his Bangladesh counterpart that internal consultations were in progress and the matter will be taken forward once a consensus is reached.

In his interaction with reporters, Quayes said that Dhaka has proposed revival of contacts between district administrations of bordering areas to help stop incidents of cross-border killing.

The Bangladeshi side stressed that India should urgently implement the agreement over land boundary demarcation and exchange of adversely-held enclaves, signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September last year, “as it is important to deliver on it.”

“It’s not in the interest of Bangladesh or in the interest of India to make a commitment and not deliver on it,” said Quayes.

“We have been assured by the Indian side that efforts are on to implement the land boundary agreement,” he added.

The Indian government is required to get the agreement ratified by parliament before implementing it as it involves exchange of land.

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