Making a "significant movement forward" on the vexed Teesta water-sharing issue, India and Bangladesh have exchanged draft agreements and promised to go ahead expeditiously.
Wrapping up the two-day ministerial-level meeting of the Joint River Commission last night, Bangladesh submitted a
draft of an interim agreement on sharing of Teesta water while India presented a draft "Statement of Principles" of sharing of the river water during the dry season.
The Water Resource Secretaries of the two countries were asked to examine the drafts presented by both sides "towards an expeditious conclusion of an interim agreement on Teesta", an official statement said, adding "this is a significant movement forward on this issue".
Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar, who held nearly four hours of talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Ramesh
Chandra Sen, told reporters that the two sides exchanged the draft agreements and have mandated the Water Resources Secretaries to "take up the issue from here".
The next JRC meeting will be held at the earliest and Water Resources Secretaries will decide on that, he said.
Sen described the exchange of draft accords as a "step forward" but neither of the two ministers disclosed the
percentage of water-sharing Bangladesh has mentioned in its draft interim agreement or how much India has suggested in its document.
Sen said it was a step forward because "we have decided how to go about cooperating on the issue" and both Secretaries will meet in the coming days so that the matter is resolved expeditiously.