Modi assures Hasina on LBA, Teesta again

Mahamudul Hasan . Kathmandu

Although the Indian prime minister and the Bangladesh prime minister have met twice in three months, Narendra Modi is yet to present specific progress in settling decades-old irritants such as the Land Boundary Agreement and Teesta water sharing deal between the two neighbours.During the meeting with Sheikh Hasina at Hotel Soaltee in Kathmandu, on the sidelines of the 18th SAARC Summit in the afternoon, Modi again reassured Hasina that his efforts were on to implement the LBA and to sign the Teesta water sharing deal with Bangladesh as soon as possible.The Indian prime minister gave the reassurance when Hasina raised the two outstanding issues and wanted to know the progress.The meeting lasted for half an hour starting from 3:30pm (Bangladesh time).Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, media adviser to the prime minister, in a briefing at the media centre in the evening said Modi informed Hasina that his government was working sincerely to resolve of the two pending issues.‘We are trying to build consensus on the issues at home and would soon go for ratifying the Land Boundary Agreement. We are also trying to reach a consensus on signing the water sharing deal,’ Iqbal quoted Modi as saying.

Earlier, the two prime ministers met in New York on September 27 on the sidelines of the UNGA session when the Indian prime minister gave a similar assurance to his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina.Bangladesh had long been pressing India to ratify the long over due 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and for legitimate share of water from the common river Teesta.During the meeting, Modi agreed with Hasina to work together to fight extremism and poverty and continue exchange of intelligence reports about the recent bomb blast at Burdwan in West Bengal, Iqbal said.Iqbal said that the Indian leader emphasised on strengthening bilateral relations for their mutual development.Modi told Hasina that he would soon visit Bangladesh.Sheikh Hasina also held bilateral meetings with the Nepalese prime minister, the Afghan president and the prime minister of Pakistan.About the meeting with Pak prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Iqbal told reporters that Nawaj paid a courtesy call on Sheikh Hasina with his delegation at Hotel Soaltee.Both the prime ministers discussed issues relating to politics, extremism and power and they agreed on the importance of continuation of democratic process for development, Iqbal said.Asked about the war criminals issue, he said the issue was not discussed between the two prime ministers.Hasina invited Nawaz to visit Bangladesh. In response, he said he would soon visit Bangladesh after discussing the matter at the government level.

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