Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the government has not made any decision on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s alternative proposal for Teesta Water Sharing Treaty.
The minister made the statement at a press briefing held in his secretariat office on Monday afternoon.
Earlier on Saturday, after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Delhi, Mamata proposed that Bangladesh should use the waters of five other common rivers – Torsa, Dharala, Jaldhaka, Dhansiri and Mansiri – to meet its needs.
Inu said: “We have not accepted the proposal yet. Teesta treaty cannot be avoided.
“The Indian central government is still focusing on the water sharing issue as they are optimistic about signing the treaty within the tenure of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government.”
However, he said they are open to discussion on sharing the waters of common rivers.
About the defence deal with India, Inu said: “Bangladesh has defence treaty with China, Russia, the US and Italy as well. But 70-80% of our military equipment is purchased from China. Now, India is also included in the competitive market, which will help us reduce our dependency on China.”
Asked about BNP's opposition to such deal, he said: “BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is talking about this issue without knowing all the information.”
Sheikh Hasina went to India on Friday on a four-day state visit at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Also Read- Mamata still only barrier to Teesta deal
On Saturday, Modi reiterated that the pact would be signed by his and Hasina's governments.
“I firmly believe it is only my government and Sheikh Hasina’s government that can find the final and early solution for Teesta water sharing [treaty],” the Indian prime minister said.
Mamata’s opposition to sharing Teesta water appears to be the biggest stumbling block to reaching the Teesta agreement. Bangladesh and India have been negotiating the elusive deal for close to two decades now.