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India not doing much to resolve Teesta water issue, says Bangladesh foreign minister, floats Chinese proposal

Momin also backed multilateral development of the river infrastructure. "In the Brahmaputra basin, only 3 percent is in China, in India only 6 percent people are affected by the river, but we are the lower riparian state with 23 percent affected people, “ he said, adding, “One country alone must not develop infra on this trans-boundary river.”

May 30, 2022
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Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momin

It is a “shame” that India and Bangladesh have not done the deal on the Teesta river water-sharing, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momin said, adding that New Delhi hasn’t done much about it. Teesta river, which originates from the Teesta Kangse glacier and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal, is among the 54 rivers the two countries share.

"It's a shame, we were ready, they were ready, yet the deal is not done. In the future, there will be a big cry for water and we have to prepare for it," Momin, who was in India last week to attend the NADI conclave in Assam, was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The deal two countries had agreed upon in 2011 fell through after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee protested against it. Under the deal, India had initially agreed to share 37.5 percent of Teesta waters while retaining 42.5 percent of the waters during the lean season between December and March, which Banerjee said was grossly inadequate for her state and blocked its signing.

“We are very optimistic that India would agree to go forward with the deal, even West Bengal will agree, and we will achieve it," Momin said.

China and Bangladesh are reportedly in talks for a $1 billion loan for comprehensive management and restoration project on the Teesta river. Momin, however, denied receiving any formal proposal from China but confirmed that Beijing had picked upon a part of the project which was initially suggested by a French company in 1989.

“We have to see how it goes because as of now India is not really not doing much to resolve the Teesta water-sharing issue, that's why they (China) came up with a proposal, it's a lucrative proposal," Momin said.

Momin also backed multilateral development of the river infrastructure. "In the Brahmaputra basin, only 3 percent is in China, in India only 6 percent people are affected by the river, but we are the lower riparian state with 23 percent affected people, “ he said, adding, “One country alone must not develop infra on this trans-boundary river.”

“We should look at the residents of the Brahmaputra basin together, whether it's the Chinese development or India or Bangladesh. We all have to think about the impact on the entire basin and its people," he said.
(SAM)

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