Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 19 December: The virtual summit between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that took place on Thursday focused on connectivity between the two nations and the Teesta water deal. Subsequently, it reflected on the Indian media which praised PM Sheikh Hasina for playing an important role in growing connection between the neighbouring nations and also urged the Indian government to do more in terms of tightening the bond with Bangladesh.
Citing a Bangladeshi source, Telegraph reported that delay in sealing the deal on Teesta river water sharing has become an emotive subject in the neighbouring country.
News analysis from India Today dissected the issue and how it may impact the ties between neighbouring West Bengal state and Indian central government.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee opposed the Teesta water-sharing formula over global warming having its impact on the glaciers that feed the river.
While the Indian constitution allows the central government to sign any international or bilateral treaty despite the objection of a state, the central government refrained from using that privilege, the article said.
However, it claimed that the deal not inked was a good move for India because of the ‘Chinese angle’ to the Teesta river management in Bangladesh referring to the events of August 2020 when China agreed to loan around $1 billion as part of the Teesta River Comprehensive Management and Restoration Project (TRCMRP).
“China’s entry into the Teesta river issue happened during the military standoff in Ladakh,” it read.
While doubling down on the same conflict of interest between India and China, the Times of India commented that the Indian government should prioritise its ties with Dhaka more.
“Given this scenario, India shouldn’t take its ties with Bangladesh for granted and remind Dhaka of the perils of relying too much on Chinese largesse,” read the opinion piece.
India Today published also highlighting the deals and MoUs signed between the countries and praised Sheikh Hasina for her cooperative notion to the neighbouring country.
“India-Bangladesh ties today have acquired a multi-dimensional character. And a large reason for this is Hasina herself who is personally invested in the relationship with New Delhi,” it said.
An editorial published in Hindustan Times Friday on the summit also sang praises of PM Sheikh Hasina’s contribution in the improved relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
It also criticised the Indian government for their less inclusive attitude toward its neighbour.
“Sheikh Hasina’s government has provided a model of security cooperation. India should involve Bangladesh more in its global initiatives such as Covid-19 and climate,” said the editorial piece.
However, it argued that both India and Bangladesh need to ‘reconcile their domestic political narratives’.
“Indian visions of Bangladeshi hordes need to be replaced with a realisation that migrants cross in both directions. Dhaka, in turn, needs to be more honest about localised discrimination of minorities and the outward migration this has engendered,” it read.
The Hindu in their piece praised PM Hasina for her effective leadership during tough times and also urged the same in terms of improving Dhaka-Delhi relationship further.
“It is imperative for India to bolster ties with this all-weather friend, and there may not be a better time to do so than when Bangladesh is to celebrate the golden jubilee of its independence,” the editorial referred to the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh Independence.
The editorial, highlighting PM Sheikh Hasina’s stance against extremism, said India should not allow the ideological inclinations of the ruling party to spoil the historic relationship between the two countries.
“New Delhi should take a broader view of the changing scenario and growing competition in South Asia, and reach out to Dhaka with an open mind,” it read.