An early solution to the Teesta water issue will be key to further strengthening of India-Bangladesh ties, said Syed Badrul Ahsan, noted Bangladeshi columnist and writer of the book ‘From Rebel to Founding Father: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’, here on Monday.
Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of a discussion on ‘The past, present and future of India-Bangladesh relations across the spectrum of politics, strategic and security interests, culture trade and ideas therein’, organised by Indian Narrative, Ahsan said that the Teesta water pact is not taking a final shape because of the objections raised by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government.
However, at the same time, he admitted that considering the cordial relationship between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Mamata Banerjee, the intellectual society in Bangladesh hopes to see a quick end to the water pact impasse.
“A state-to-state negotiation is going to achieve the accord. The relationship between the Bangladesh Prime Minister and the West Bengal Chief Minister is extremely cordial. On that basis, hopes still persist about a quick solution to the Teesta water issue,” Ahsan added.
Earlier, speaking during the panel discussion organised by Indian Narrative, Ahsan rubbished apprehensions among certain sections of the society, both in India and Bangladesh, that the current friendship between China and Pakistan might have a negative impact on the long-standing India-Bangladesh ties.
“That is out of the question. This is because Pakistan authorities will never have the greatness of apologising for the war-crimes committed on the land of East Pakistan before the 1971 liberation. For example, Imran Khan condemned the role of Pakistan when he was not in power. He is again condemning the role of the army when he is not in power now. But in between, when he was in power, he never condemned the role of the army. So, the apprehensions that the current China-Pakistan friendship will have an impact on India-Bangladesh ties are baseless,” Ahsan said.
Commenting on the general elections in Bangladesh due to be held between December 2023 and January 2024, Ahsan said that economic growth, corruption and rule of law will be the key issues in the forthcoming polls.
Admitting that Sheikh Hasina continues to enjoy popularity among the people of Bangladesh, Ahsan said that questions are already being asked as to who would be her successor in the long run.
“In India too, once the question was there that ‘after Jawaharlal Nehru who’? Similarly, there is a question in Bangladesh as to who after Sheikh Hasina,” he said.