India’s foreign minister says no Teesta water deal during Modi’s Bangladesh visit

It ends all speculations as Dhaka was hoping that maverick Modi will pull out a last-minute surprise to get the much-awaited deal through.

The PTI quoted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as telling reporters at a briefing in New Delhi that views of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee must be taken before finalising the deal with Bangladesh.

“We have not reached a position for signing of the Teesta pact,” she was quoted as saying by the news agency.

“Any understanding between governments of India and Bangladesh will not be enough as no decision is possible without consulting the state (West Bengal) government”.

Speculations on the possibility of the deal finally being struck ran wild following Modi’s surprise meeting with his predecessor Manmohan Singh four days ago.

Singh is familiar with details of negotiations on the Teesta deal as it was supposed to be inked during his visit to Dhaka in Sep 2011.

But it was postponed at the last minute due to objections by Banerjee who even pulled out of the prime ministerial entourage.

Minister Swaraj, however, said this time the chief minister would come to Dhaka.

“Mamata Banerjee is definitely going there,” she said on Sunday.

A day earlier, Banerjee announced that she would come to Dhaka on June 5 separately, and go back the next day after signing the Land Boundary Agreement.

However, when he was asked about the Teesta deal, Modi in a newspaper interview compared the passage of LBA similar to the fall of Berlin Wall.

He bemoaned that the media failed to understand the gravity of it and was talking about issues.

Officials at the foreign ministry said they were expecting to sign a dozen of deals during his visit to take the relations forward in almost all sector including road, rail, waterways, trade, security, infrastructure and people-to-people contact.

Source: Bd news24

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