New Delhi, Aug. 28: India has said it is not in favour of a comprehensive agreement on all the rivers that it shares with Bangladesh, though it is not averse to addressing the issue in a “phased manner”.
Experts of the two countries, who concluded their two-day talks on sharing waters of Teesta and six other rivers, decided to focus on Teesta at present and take up the other rivers at a later date. This was the fourth round of meetings on Teesta.
The Bangladeshi delegation was led by its water resources secretary, Saiful Ahmed Chaudhury. The Indian team was led by his counterpart, I. Goswami. The Bangladeshi team will leave for the Northeast tomorrow to survey rivers in Assam and Meghalaya.
Bangladesh has been in favour of an umbrella agreement on water sharing with India for all the major rivers that flow between the two countries. It has argued that a comprehensive treaty will help it plan in advance and manage the resource better.
India says each river should be treated as a “separate entity, which has its own individuality and vagaries”. Therefore, a comprehensive agreement on all the rivers, bunching them together, will not help.
Instead, it has stressed that the two sides should take up the rivers in a “ phased manner”. As part of this arrangement, the focus of talks over the past two days was on Teesta though six other rivers were also on the agenda.
Both sides agreed that there was little water in Teesta in the lean season, starting from April to October. Therefore, an arrangement has to be made where neither side feel cheated. However, more information and other data were required before an arrangement on water sharing could be put in place.