APJ Abul Kalam wants consensus among Bangladesh-India

Dhaka, Jul 5 (bdnews24.com)

The visiting former Indian president Avul Pakir Jainulabedeen Abdul Kalam has stressed on regional cooperation particularly in water management for promoting peace and development in the region.

“It is essential (to have regional cooperation in water management) because you see we are wasting lots of water,” he said adding, “Nations should come together, work together to harness the water.”

Connectivity is the key

“In 10 years time I feel that there would be more regional cooperation,” he said at a press briefing at the CIRDAP library Thursday.

Neighbours concerned

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Teesta, Tipaimukh and River Linking

Bangladesh and India share 54 common rivers but they could strike deals only to share water of one river. Interim agreement on sharing water of Teesta river could not be signed during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September due to strong resistance from the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The 81-year old former Indian president put forward suggestion that Bangladesh and India should work together to replace plastic products with jute goods. “It is a big mission.”

He stressed on visionary leadership who could make plan for the next 10 years.

The Missile Man, as he was named in India, said he undertook research on satellite for peaceful purpose.

About missiles, he said, “Why I did missiles, because all surrounding us had missile weapons.”

He, however, said India spent small amount of money for missile development.

Kalam hoped that 20 to 50 percent use of fossil fuel would be cut by 2030 as people would resort to renewable energy.

“Thirty billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are being injected every year and that’s why I am promoting solar power, hydro power, wind power, nuclear power and bio-fuel.”

When his attention was drawn to the recent controversy that he was under pressure not to conduct oath of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi as prime minister, he said, “I did not say that. You see as per the Constitution if a political party which has majority selects somebody, then I have to appoint her/him.”