NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina met in Delhi today, signing 22 agreements including a 500 million dollar line of credit to Dhaka for the purchase of military hardware, the first such agreement of its kind between the two countries. India also extended another 4.5 billion dollars in a line of credit to Bangladesh for infrastructure projects, taking the total line of credit extended by India to over 8 billion dollars over the last few years.
However, there was no pact on the Teesta water sharing treaty, a big disappointment for Dhaka in particular since West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is still opposed to it. The Teesta river runs through Bengal into Bangladesh and the treaty allows for 50:50 water sharing during the lean season. But Ms Banerjee feels it will be detrimental to her state’s interests.
In his statement to the media, Prime Minister Modi said, “I am very happy that Chief Minister of West Bengal is my guest today. Her feeling for Bangladesh as warm as my own. I assure you and people of Bangladesh of our continuing efforts on Teesta. It’s only my government and your government that can and will find an early solution to Teesta water sharing issue.”
Prime Minister Hasina made one reference to the Teesta treaty, saying “I hope we get India’s support in resolving all issues expeditiously.”
Significantly, Mamata Banerjee was present at the signing of agreements on the bus and train services between Kolkata and Bangladesh and at the Prime Minister’s lunch for Sheikh Hasina.
The two leaders also discussed terrorism in detail. “We have the greatest admiration for PM Hasina for her firm resolve in dealing with terrorism. Her government has zero tolerance towards terrorism which is an inspiration,” PM Modi said.