Millennium Post

Teesta pact unlikely to be signed during Sheikh Hasina's visit

Teesta pact unlikely to be signed during Sheikh Hasinas visit
India and Bangladesh will sign at least 25 pacts covering an array of areas including defence and civil nuclear sector during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's four-day visit here beginning Friday but progress over the long-pending Teesta water-sharing agreement is unlikely.

The MoUs likely to be signed after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hasina on Saturday include one on boosting defence ties under which India will supply military hardware to Bangladesh.

Under a first such MoU with any neighbouring country, India is also set to announce a line of credit of $ 500 million to Bangladesh for military supplies.

The framework agreement on civil nuclear energy will provide for extensive cooperation in the sector including setting up of nuclear reactors in Bangladesh by India.

"It will be a very very special visit. We hope the visit will take the ties between the two countries to new level," Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary in the Bangladesh- Myanmar division of External Affairs Ministry, told reporters.

Issues like combating terrorism, containing radicalism and enhancing security cooperation between the two countries are likely to figure prominently besides stalemate over the Teesta pact during talks between Modi and Hasina.

It is learnt that the central government will not go ahead with the agreement without taking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on board. Banerjee has been opposing it stridently citing water crisis in West Bengal. "It will be a visit without water," described an official in the know of things.

The West Bengal Chief Minister has accepted an invitation by the government to attend the launch of some projects between the two countries as well a lunch to be hosted in honour of Hasina by Modi.
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