Dhaka, Bangladesh
Delhi needs to address Dhaka's water, Rohingya concerns

Delhi needs to address Dhaka's water, Rohingya concerns

Speakers at a symposium in the city on Wednesday laid emphasis on addressing two major concerns - water and Rohingya issues - and sought India's genuine efforts to address those concerns and boost trust between Bangladesh and India at all levels, reports UNB. Recognising the growing relations between the two South Asian neighbours, they noted much has been achieved over the past years but more needs to be done. The speakers said India made many declarations with lower deliveries. Cosmos Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) at the National University of Singapore arranged the symposium titled 'Bangladesh-India Relations: Prognosis for the Future' at a city hotel. ISAS Director C Raja Mohan delivered the keynote address while ISAS Principal Research Fellow and a former Advisor to Bangladesh's previous caretaker government Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury chaired the inaugural session. Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large and Chairman of the ISAS Gopinath Pillai, former Indian Foreign Secretary and Ambassador Krishnan Srinivasan, former professor of Jahangirnagar University Dilara Chowdhury, Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan, Cosmos Group Directors Nahar Khan and Masud Khan, former and current diplomats, scholars and editors spoke. "We want to be treated equally and candidly if they claim that we are friends. Our prosperity will be the prosperity of India as well," said Prof Dilara Chowdhury. She said Rohingya is a great security risk for Bangladesh and if these people do not go back Bangladesh will face all kind of security repercussions on the society, politics and economy of the country. The expert said India has not given that kind of pressure on Myanmar that they should be taken back though Bangladesh took care of security interest of India. She said India and China under the same footing want Bangladesh to solve the Rohingya problem bilaterally which has not been possible. "International support is needed and India should take the lead from its high moral ground to uphold that humanitarian causes of the subcontinent." Prof Dilara identified water as the second security concern and expressed displeasure for not seeing any role from the Indian civil society on water issues. "Bangladesh is a riverine country. Rivers are dying in Bangladesh," she said apparently putting blames on dams and barrages built by India that diverted water flows. The analyst mentioned that Bangladesh has given transit and transshipment facilities to India that raised India's physical presence in Bangladesh but Bangladesh did not gain much. "Despite promises, only 1 percent of India's total import is from Bangladesh whereas Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka have more trade shares with India," she said adding that none of the symposium participants is anti-Indian but what all they want to see is a relation mutually beneficial. Prof Dilara said Bangladesh cannot prosper no matter how much investment it has if its rivers are dried up. She, however, said after lot of ups and downs Bangladesh's relations with India is now better as lot of development is taking place since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009. "We can say it has never been better than what it is today."

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