Teesta water sharing talks on table, Khaleda must prove her charges

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DHAKA : Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, today said that the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement was very much on the agenda.

He challenged BNP leader Khaleda Zia to prove where exactly the country’s interest had been compromised or “sold out,” as she had claimed, publicly.

The minister was speaking at a crowded press conference at the Press Information Department (PID) auditorium here today.

He further said that Bangladesh had 10 defence agreements with countries as varied as China, Russia, Italy and the United States and that 80 per cent of the hardware used by our military were of Chinese origin. So where is the problem if we have yet another defense agreement? he asked rhetorically. It will diversify our supply source and upgrade our technology.

The minister further said that our armed forces basically were involved in international peacekeeping with the United Nations and disaster management and the access to better and superior technology would only make the task easier.

He also blasted Khaleda and her ilk for looking at Indo-Bangla relations through the Pakistani prism. “They are out of sync with the times. The world has changed a lot. She doesn’t seem to realise that. She was still involved with the “hate thy neighbor” policy of a bygone era,” he added.

“She wants to capitalize on anti-Indian sentiment and make hay of it but that is not possible, “he said. He quoted an English saying, that one could change spouses but countries did not have the luxury of choosing neighbors. “Love ’em or hate ’em, you got to put up with them and the wise thing to do was to profit from the proximity, “he said.

He also said Khaleda wanted to keep all problems alive with India in her own parochial political interest, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wanted to resolve them for the greater interest of the nation. Which is better? he asked.

He cited a litany of agreements starting with the Ganges’ Water Sharing Agreement to the Chittagong Hill Tracts’ Peace deal to the Line of Credits (LoCs) as evidence.

In contrast, he added Khaleda didn’t solve any difficulty including the highly politicized Ganges’ Water problem during her tenure as prime minister. During her visit to India as prime minister she was asked by journalists if she had raised the Ganges’ issue, she replied “She had forgotten it.”

In contrast, he said, Sheikh Hasina does not forget critical national issues even in the face of death.

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