India, Bangladesh hold minister-level meet on water sharing
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Bangladesh Minister of State for Water Resources, Zaheed Farooque held talks on the Joint Rivers Commission

New Delhi: India and Bangladesh on Thursday discussed issues related to water-sharing treaties of Teesta, Ganga and other rivers at a minister-level meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC), Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said.

Bangladesh Minister of State for Water Resources Zaheed Farooque led a 17-member delegation at the ministerial talks with his Indian counterpart Shekhawat.

“Attended the 38th India-Bangladesh ministerial level Joint Rivers Commission meeting at New Delhi. Bangladesh’s Minister for Water Resources Zaheed Farooque attended it along with their 17-member delegation.

“Issues related to water-sharing treaties of various rivers, including Teesta and Ganga were discussed,” Shekhawat tweeted.

Sources in the Jal Shakti Ministry said that bilateral cooperation in water-sharing and management came up at the JRC meeting and six other rivers other than Ganga and Teesta were also covered.

The JRC meeting, the first since 2010, comes ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s three-day visit to India, starting September 5. Defence cooperation and regional stability are likely to be the focus of the talks between Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The secretary-level meeting of the JRC was held on Tuesday.

The Teesta river dispute is an important point of bilateral talks between India and Bangladesh, as the latter has sought a fair and equitable distribution of Teesta waters from India.

The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September, 2011 but was postponed at the last minute due to objections raised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Banerjee had expressed strong reservations against giving Bangladesh a greater share of water from the Teesta river. The Ganga water treaty signed in 1996 is up for renewal in 2026.

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