Dhaka, Delhi to advance Teesta talk after India’s poll: Foreign minister

Foreign minister Hasan Mahmud speaks to the mediaBSS

Foreign minister Hasan Mahmud Monday said Dhaka and New Delhi will advance the discussion on much-awaiting Teesta water sharing treaty after the India’s upcoming general election scheduled to be held in April-May this year. 

“The election procedure will start in India from next month, the polls will be held in April-May … we discussed that we would advance the matter (Teesta water sharing deal) after the Indian election,” he told newspersons at a briefing at his ministry this afternoon. 

Hasan Mahmud made the remark referring his meeting with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar in New Delhi on Wednesday during his maiden bilateral meeting to India after assuming the office as the foreign minister.

“There is no objection of Indian central government over the Teesta deal, objection was made by (West Bengal) the state government,” he said.

During the meeting, Mahmud said, he also stressed on the renewal of the Ganges water-sharing treaty that is set to expire in 2026.

Regarding the border killing along the Bangladesh-India frontier, he said, both the foreign ministers reiterated the consensus on earlier decision of not using any lethal weapon along the border to avoid any tragic incident. 

“He agreed with me that if non-lethal weapon is used at the border area, such incident (killing) will be reduced. We expressed our consensus on the issue,” he said adding that he also discussed on security cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

Mahmud said they have also discussed the current conflicting situation of Myanmar in details and agreed to work together on the issue as both the countries are sharing their borders with that country.

The foreign minister said he also reiterated Dhaka’s urge to Delhi on Indian support to repatriate forcibly displaced Rohingyas to their land of origin in Myanmar with all citizen rights. 

The foreign minister said they also discussed on various matters related to sub regional and multi lateral issues including BIMSTEC, SAARC and BBIN framework.

At the invitation of the External Affairs Minister of India Jaishankar, Mahmud paid an official visit to India from 7-9 February, 2024.

Apart from having bilateral talks with Jaishankar, Bangladesh foreign minister also met with Indian President Droupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, commerce minister Piyush Goyal and National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval as well as addressed numbers of civil society gathering.

“During my visit, everyone warmly congratulated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her reelection and highly lauded her leadership,” he said adding that the most highlighted point of his Delhi visit is to receive warm welcome from the Indian side.

Regarding his meeting with Indian President, Mahmud said Droupadi Murmu highly lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s charismatic leadership as the longest serving women statesmen and her success in women empowerment in the political arena.

Mahmud said, he invited Indian President to visit Bangladesh and in reply Murmu verbally accepted it.

“I have conveyed it to honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and currently we are taking preparation to send official invitation to the Indian President for the visit,” he added.

The foreign minister said during his meeting with the Indian commerce minister he discussed the issue so that Dhaka could import adequate quantity of essential commodities like onion and sugar from India ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

On his way back, Mahmud took a short stopover in Kolkata and attended a civil society reception at Bangladesh consulate there.