India wont interlink common rivers

NEW DELHI, July 24 (BSS)

India on Wednesday reassured that it would not go for river interlinking project involving common rivers, Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes said here, revealing New Delhi’s intention was only to ‘interlink rivers that originated in India and ended within its territory’.

“India reassured that it would not go for river interlinking project that involves transboundary rivers-only the rivers that originate in India and end within its territory would be interlinked,” Mijarul Quayes told journalists at a local hotel after the Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) at Hyderabad Bhaban here.

The foreign secretary led an eight- member delegation to the FOC, where his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai led Indian side. The last FOC was held in Dhaka in July 2010.

“We have discussed entire gamut of bilateral issues that include agreements, protocols and MoUs,” the foreign secretary said adding Dhaka hopes New Delhi would be ‘sincere’ to implement decisions taken in the past. If the agreements are not implemented, those give wrong messages to both sides, he added.

Indian spokesperson Syed Akbar Uddin said the meeting was held in a congenial atmosphere and yielded ‘positive results’. He said initiatives were on to build ‘consensus’ to implement the land boundary agreement that requires ratification by the Indian parliament.

Echoing Uddin, Mijarul Quayes said Dhaka wanted Delhi to implement the agreement as early as possible, but it remained hanging in the balance because of non ratification of the pact by Indian parliament. He, however, expressed the hope that India would reach a consensus and ratify it soon.

The foreign secretary also touched upon killing of Bangladesh nationals by Indian border security force (BSF) and said the border killing has tumbled over years, but it needs to come to zero level. The India side, he said, has made a new proposal to involve local government bodies of both countries to manage borders.

On a question, Mijarul Quayes said ‘substantial advancement’ has been made towards the Teesta water sharing deal and hoped that India has been trying to develop a political consensus to strike the much-awaited agreement promised by India.

The foreign secretary said new areas of cooperation have also come up for discussion during the meeting, but declined to name the fresh areas of bilateral concerns.

He said India and Bangladesh would soon finalize names for a joint study group that would assess the feasibility of Tipaimukh Dam, which received huge obstruction from Bangladesh. 

Regarding the release of $1000 million credit line, the foreign secretary said Bangladesh has submitted projects worth of $600 million and the rest were on the pipeline. He also hoped that the Indian credit would be released on time and would bring benefit to Bangladesh.

The FOC started around 11.15 am Indian time and it lasted for nearly two hours. The Bangladesh delegation also raised the issue of proposed Khulna Power Plant and said progress has been made on it.