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Bangladesh's Hasina reaches out to Mamata as Teesta river deal hangs in balance

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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee

The million-dollar question -- whether or not the Teesta river deal will be signed anytime soon is back on the table as West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee won the state elections decisively. The Teesta river water sharing deal has not fructified despite efforts from India due to Banerjee’s opposition.

Banerjee pulled out at the last minute during former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in 2011, due to which the Teesta water-sharing deal could not be signed.

“Now, upon any Indian dignitary's visit to Dhaka, the most prominent question is when the Teesta deal will be signed,” the Daily Star said.

An analyst also said that the Sheikh Hasina government will have to delicately balance its relations with the Centre, where BJP is in power and West Bengal ruled by the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

“India-Bangladesh bilateral relations are going strong now but Dhaka realises that it needs to maintain a very cordial relation with West Bengal, which is predominantly Bengalis speaking and the two share a strong commonalities,” an analyst said.

In fact, in a not-so-common move, Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina and her Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen both congratulated Banerjee for her victory.

“The huge victory of Trinamul Congress in the Assembly election of 2021 is a reflection of deep-rooted trust of West Bengal people in you,” Hasina, who is known to have close relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in her letter to Banerjee.

According to the Daily Star, on Saturday, Momen in his letter to Banerjee said, "We believe, with your cooperation and commitment, the relations between the two countries will strengthen further and help resolve any outstanding issue."

Bangladesh and India share a 4,096-kilometre-long border of which over 2210 km is between the South Asian nation and West Bengal. While Banerjee’s TMC managed to win a huge majority of 213 seats, BJP won 77—a remarkable achievement, considering it had won just three in the last state elections.

The state, strategically located, connects the northeastern part of the country and is also the gateway to the south east Asian region. The state shares its borders with three countries, Besides, Bangladesh, the state also shares its borders with Bhutan and Nepal.

 

  

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