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International Relations

“She underscored that to alleviate the sufferings and save the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on the Teesta river basin, it is necessary that Bangladesh receives its fair share of the waters, the draft agreement of which has already been agreed upon by both governments in January 2011,” declared a joint statement issued at the end of bilateral discussions between the two delegations.

Sharing of resources

The two leaders also instructed their Ministries of Water Resources to firm up the Framework of Interim Agreement over the six common rivers — Monu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

Sharing of water resources has been a contentious issue between the two neighbours because of the number of stakeholders.

The two Prime Ministers also agreed that the incidents of killings along the settled Indo-Bangladesh borders is a matter of concern and instructed their respective border guards to initiate “people-oriented” border management.

The Joint Statement said the leaders have expressed their desire to bring the number of such incidents involving civilians to ‘zero’.

The killing of citizens of Bangladesh along the borders has been at the centre of bilateral ties over the last decade. India reiterated its demand for completion of border fencing by Bangladesh “at the earliest”.

Bangladesh has called upon India to revive the jute sector with investment and through public private partnership.

In this regard, Dhaka urged Delhi to withdraw the duties that were imposed on jute products of Bangladesh since 2017.

Both sides reviewed a slew of measures that have been under way over the last several years that will ease connectivity between the northeastern States of India and West Bengal. The two Prime Ministers on Saturday inaugurated the Mitali Express, a new AC train that will connect Jalpaiguri with Dhaka.

Bangladesh also offered the airports of Sylhet and Chittagong for the passengers of the Northeastern States, especially of Tripura saying these airports will help in improving connectivity in the region.

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