Bangladesh sought to open a new chapter in their relations as
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived on a two-day trip even as a
pact on the sharing of Teesta river waters failed to come through.
Despite the disappointment over Teesta, Bangladesh is positive
over Manmohan Singh's visit, the first by an Indian prime minister
in 12 years. Manmohan Singh was accorded a warm welcome at the
Shah Jalal International Airport here by Bangladesh Prime Minister
Accompanying him were External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and
Chief Ministers Tarun Gogoi of Assam, Manik Sarkar of Tripura, Pu
Lalthanhawla of Mizoram and Mukul Sangma of Meghalaya.
"We are unlikely to sign (the Teesta water sharing agreement)," an
official said on board the Indian prime minister's aircraft.
The Bangladeshi media has said frankly that not signing the Teesta
river water sharing agreement "casts a shadow on the trip" of
"Notwithstanding the shock ... that there will be no Teesta water
sharing accord, Bangladesh is ready to extend a warm welcome to
Manmohan Singh's much-awaited visit to Dhaka," the influential
Daily Star said in an editorial.
It hoped that despite the Teesta disappointment, "some significant
developments will occur in terms of economic cooperation and
investment, balancing bilateral trade, settling boundary
demarcation issues and stoppage of border killings".
"We hope the outcome of the visit in other areas will be
proportionate to the interest generated and expectations created
by the long-drawn-out preparations preceding the trip."
It said though Dhaka was in "shock" over the Teesta blow, it hoped
India will "deliver" in other areas for a successful outcome to
India and Bangladesh are expected to settle their boundary
dispute, improve trade ties, discuss transit arrangements and
finalise river water arrangements. Terrorism, as well as illegal
immigration, are also likely to feature in the wide-ranging talks.
Indian Foreign Ranjan Mathai said in New Delhi Monday: "We are
trying to put in place a broad-based agenda of cooperation in
areas including trade and investments, infrastructure, power,
water resources, border management, education, cultural contacts,
people-to-people exchanges, better border and transport
infrastructure or what is called connectivity."
Other newspapers hoped since the Hasina government was meeting
India's concerns on insurgency and transit, India should concede
in other areas by opening up trade and give duty-free access to
(Rahul Dass can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)