Modi compares settling Indo-Bangla land issue with fall of Berlin Wall

modi

Ahead of his June 6-7 Dhaka visit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has compared the settling of the Indo-Bangla land boundary issue with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“The media has not realised this was a massive achievement and is talking of other issues. Had this been elsewhere in the world, this would have been cited as an example as big as the fall of the Berlin Wall,” he said in an interview with Indian daily The Tribune.

Modi boasted of the diplomacy he pursued, describing it as “practical and outcome-based”.

The Indian PM, however, refrained from answering a question on the prospect of a deal on sharing of Teesta waters with Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday said she would visit Bangladesh on June 5 and return home the next day after signing the Land Boundary Agreement.

This means Mamata will travel to Dhaka from Kolkata separately, not with Modi who will fly in from Delhi on June 6.

On Friday, Raj Chengappa, editor-in-chief of the Tribune Group of Newspapers, took Modi’s interview on completion of his one year in office.

Chengappa asked him, “You are visiting Bangladesh next week after resolving the border issue. Will there also be a deal on the sharing of Teesta waters?

In response, Modi said, “We had settled the long pending land boundary issues with Bangladesh by taking all parties into confidence.

“The entire mood of our neighbourhood has changed dramatically because of our message of shared prosperity being implemented on the ground. Mine is practical and outcome-based diplomacy,” he said.

Modi, however, didn’t reply to the question on Teesta water-sharing.

On his first state visit to Bangladesh, the Indian PM will hold talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and also call on President Abdul Hamid.

Earlier this month, the Indian parliament unanimously passed a constitution amendment bill to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh, paving the way for its implementation that has been pending for 41 years.

The legislation would operationalise the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement that provides for exchange of 161 enclaves adversely held by the two countries.

MAMATA TO VISIT DHAKA

Talking to reporters at the state secretariat in Kolkata yesterday, Mamata said, “I will be reaching Bangladesh on June 5 and will be back on June 6 after the signing of the Land boundary Agreement.”

On May 28, Partha Chatterjee, education and parliamentary affairs minister of West Bengal, said Mamata would accompany Modi on his Dhaka trip.

In September 2011, the much-talked-about Teesta water-sharing deal fell through due to opposition from Mamata. She refrained from joining the then Indian PM Manmohan Singh in his Bangladesh visit.

Originating from Sikkim, the Teesta enters Bangladesh through Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and meets the Brahmaputra.