Dhaka, December 10 (Dhaka Tribune): Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was to visit India on December 18, now wants to do so in February. This was conveyed to the visiting Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J.Akbar, here on Saturday.
The Prime Minister’s Press Secretary, Ihsanul Karim, told the media after the meeting that officials of the two countries will work out a new schedule for the visit.
Though Bangladeshi officials gave no reason for the postponement, it is said that Hasina felt that she has to be fully satisfied that the Government of India will stay committed on the issue of sharing the waters of the Teesta and other rivers. She was not sure given the fact that the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, has serious reservations about sharing.
The other reason for the postponement was the pre-occupation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with other pressing issues like demonetization, an issue on which he is at odds with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
At the meeting with Hasina in Dhaka on Saturday, Indian Minister Akbar said that the government and the people of India are eagerly looking forward to receiving the Bangladesh Prime Minister.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina have taken India-Bangladesh bilateral relations to a new height. There are vast areas of cooperation between Bangladesh and India, particularly in the field of hydroelectricity and energy, Akbar added.
He lauded Prime Minister Hasina’s contribution to ensuring stability in the region as “historic”.
Hasina told Akbar that there may be problems between two neighbors but these should not affect friendship and cooperation. She said her government is maintaining “zero tolerance policy” against terrorism and militancy and said no one will be allowed to use Bangladesh’s soil for terrorist acts against any other country.
The Prime Minister recalled with gratitude the contribution of Indian armed forces to Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971. She mentioned that the Indian allied force returned to their country immediately after Bangladesh’s independence.
“It created history as no allied force in the world returned home immediately after victory,” she said.
Akbar and Hasina also discussed the construction of water reservoirs for ensuring water security of the two countries.