Bangladesh land minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif sought to pick up the threads from the Mamata-Hasina meet in Dhaka as he met the chief minister at Nabanna on Monday.
After the meeting, the minister voiced hope of a settlement of the dispute over the sharing of Teesta waters. “I am hopeful that the dispute over the sharing of Teesta waters between our two nations will be resolved soon,” Sharif told reporters after a half-an-hourlong meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the secretariat on Monday.
However, he didn’t say if his optimistic tone on the Teesta issue was the result of discussions with the chief minister on the day.
However, he did say that the proposal of exchanging enclaves (Chitmahal) came up during the talks on Monday. “The talks were positive and the Bengal chief minister voiced hope of an early resolution of all issues,” Sharif said.
Sharif said they also touched on the issue of cross-border terrorism that threatened to drive a wedge between the neighbours in the wake of the accidental blast at a Burdwan terror safe house. The incident blew the lid off a plot by Bangladeshi insurgents to unseat the Hasina government. “I assured her (the chief minister) that our government continues to have a zero tolerance policy on terrorism,” Sharif said.
Sharif said the meeting was basically a courtesy call with no specific agenda on the plate. However, political observers said the meeting was intended to lay the ground work for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh soon.
“The proposed Teesta water sharing deal is expected to feature in a big way during Modi’s visit to Bangladesh. However, the chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) and her party are skeptical on the agreement. Perhaps, the Bangladesh minister was here to sense the chief minister’s position on the issue,” a source said.