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'Dr Singh must reassure Bangladeshis on Teesta'

September 06, 2011 11:45 IST

Disappointed over the last minute holding up of the Teesta River Agreement, the Bangladesh government on Tuesday said that Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, must reassure the people of Bangladesh that the hold-up is temporary and that the agreement will be signed soon.

Professor Gowhar Rizvi, Advisor and Special Representative of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Asian News International in an interview, "I remain confident that although the Teesta agreement may not happen on Tuesday, it will happen shortly."

"So, I hope when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Bangladesh, he will be able to reassure the people of Bangladesh that it is only a temporary matter and we may look forward signing this treaty soon," hew said.

"I remain confident it will be a temporary setback, but I am very conscious of the fact that our PM has walked the extra mile, taking huge risks, to create trust between the two countries," Rizvi added.

He further pointed out that there is a danger that India baiters and extremist voices in Bangladesh may take advantage of the situation to stoke up anti-India sentiments to pursue their political agenda.

"Given the long history of mistrust, misunderstanding, perceptions often distortion of facts, political parties are taking advantage of anti-Indianism, pursuing their political agenda. There is always a danger that it may play into their hands," Rizvi said.

"The relationship between India and Bangladesh is far too important to be allowed to be derailed by some element or another," he added.

Expressing cautious optimism about the outcome of Singh's visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 12 years, Bangladesh hopes he will be able to take West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee onboard on the Teesta issue.

"We have made very considerable progress, but at the same time, I understand democratic compulsions. India is a federal state. The prime minister has to carry his states with him. Teesta affects West Bengal. We can understand obviously that it will be very difficult to explain to the people of Bangladesh if it does not happen," Rizvi said.

Source: ANI