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Land accord to be taken to parliament, India assures Bangladesh
Friday July 26, 2013 11:34 PM, IANS

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday assured Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni that India would not do anything "inimical" to Dhaka's interests and also said that his government intends to take the Land Boundary Agreement for ratification to parliament.

According to official sources, the prime minister conveyed to Moni that the United Progressive Alliance government was seeking national consensus on the Teesta waters issue.

The prime minister, however, noted that water was continuing to flow to Bangladesh and data sharing in this regard was taking place regularly.

The prime minister also reiterated to Moni India's vision on water resources and assured that nothing inimical to Bangladesh's interests would be done, said the sources.

The prime minister suggested that Bangladesh join as a stakeholder in the Tipaimukh hydroelectric project on the Barak river in Manipur. Bangladesh has raised the issue about lean period water discharge from the dam and impact on downstream agriculture, fisheries and environment.

Moni, who met the prime minister in the morning, also met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley in the afternoon.

The Bangladesh foreign minister said Manmohan Singh reassured her that the bilateral cooperation "and the way it has evolved in the last four and a half years" with the Sheikh Hasina government would continue and that India is "totally committed to fulfilling all the commitments it has given".

"He has also reassured on the issue of not doing anything that might harm Bangladesh in any way," Moni told reporters.

On the two outstanding issues of Land Boundary Agreement and Teesta, she said the prime minister had assured that his government is totally committed and was "waiting for the internal processes to conclude".

Moni said she had requested Jaitley so that the BJP supports the constitutional amendment bill when it comes to parliament and was assured by leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha that he would speak to his colleagues.

"He (Jaitley) was very, very positive about the ongoing partnership and close bond between our two countries and also expressed firm belief that the relationship and cooperation will continue... I thought his response was very positive and he would talk to his party colleagues," said Moni.

She denied that time was running out to conclude the two agreements with her government set to go for elections this year end and the UPA government also to complete its term next year.

Moni said the two governments have "taken the initiative and brought the two issues near completion, which in itself is a great achievement... We are waiting for it to be concluded".

She said both countries should "once and for all" resolve the two issues and move ahead together.

"This is a great opportunity we are presented with and we should seize the opportunity, which would be good not just for the two countries, but also for South Asia".

India has extended an invite to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit, but no dates have been firmed up yet, Moni said.


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