Mir Mostafiz : Dhaka does not expect any positive outcome involving the Teesta water-sharing problem during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to Indian state of West Bengal.

The prime minister will meet her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee there.

“Tell us, what can we do? Work is in progress. Work is going on at the diplomatic level,” foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali said, explaining the situation concerning the Teesta water sharing problem between Bangladesh and India.

“Gradually, everything will come out. Now nothing can be said. We have nothing to do.”

He made the remarks while talking with reporters at the foreign ministry on Wednesday.

Policymakers in Dhaka and New Delhi are now clear that Mamata Banerjee, for obvious reasons, would not accept any deal on Teesta water sharing before the next assembly election in West Bengal.

Responding to a question whether Sheikh Hasina will apprise Mr Modi of Bangladesh’s political situation ahead of next general election, the foreign minister said,” If Modi asks her about it why not… in a meeting between two friendly neighbouring countries? India is our largest neighbour, main neighbour, India is a friend of a different nature. In 1971, ten million or more people had crossed into India and many of our people, our intellectuals, leaders crossed the frontier … they went to many places in India including Delhi, Mumbai and all other places. So therefore, you know… we will not forget that help.

In fact, raising the issue would tantamount to annoying her (Mamata Banerjee), a foreign ministry official said.

However, the foreign minister said Hasina and Modi would discuss the latest state of bilateral relations during their meeting at the Visva-Bharati in Shantiniketan.

Both of them are scheduled to address the convocation at the Visva-Bharati. The two leaders will also inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhaban at the university campus.

Hasina will arrive in Kolkata tomorrow (Friday) morning and she would then leave for Santiniketan in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.

Mamata Banerjee will also attend the programme at the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore.

After the events in Santiniketan, Hasina is scheduled to leave for Kolkata. She will visit Jorasanko Thakur Bari, Tagore’s ancestral home in north Kolkata, there. On Saturday, Hasina will visit Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol in West Burdwan district. She will be conferred upon an honorary D.Lit degree there.

Mamata Banerjee will be the chief guest at the convocation of the university. On her return to Kolkata, Hasina is likely to visit Netaji Bhaban, the ancestral home of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, in south Kolkata. She will return to Dhaka on Saturday.

During her two-day visit to West Bengal, Bangladesh prime minister will meet a delegation of local business leaders in Kolkata.

The prime minister will apprise them of the business-friendly environment prevailing in Bangladesh and invite them to invest in Bangladesh, the foreign minister said.

Responding to a question, Mr Ali said India’s response to the Rohingya issue was “positive”.

Following a request made by Bangladesh, India is building infrastructures in Rakhaine so that repatriated Rohingya can have a sustainable return, he noted. (FE Report)