Bangladesh would gauge 'geopolitical issues' over Chinese proposal on Teesta River Official

Dhaka, Dec 28 (PTI) Bangladesh on Thursday said it would take into account the "geopolitical issues" over a Chinese proposal to build reservoirs on the Teesta River that enters into the country from India.
    "They (China) have expressed willingness to extend cooperation for development work on the Bangladesh part of the Teesta. The concerned ministries and Economic Relations Division would consider their proposal," a foreign ministry spokeswoman told a weekly media briefing in Dhaka.
    Asked how far Dhaka would take into consideration India's reservation over China's involvement in a major project near its strategic Siliguri Corridor, also known as the Chicken's Neck, foreign ministry spokeswoman Seheli Sabrin said that in such a case Dhaka would “take into cognizance the geopolitical issues” in proceeding with the proposal.
    Her comments came more than a week after Chinese ambassador Yao Wen said Beijing received several proposals for the development of the Teesta basin and “we await the end of the election process in Bangladesh”.
    The envoy said China is expected to initiate a process on the issue after the January 7 general elections in Bangladesh.
    The Teesta water-sharing agreement with India has been in the talks since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League government came to power in 2009 and the two neighbours were set to ink an agreement during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 2011 Bangladesh visit. But West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the last minute opposed the treaty, suspending the proposed deal and largely upsetting the Indian premier's much-hyped tour at that time.
    According to Bangladesh officials, China in 2020 proposed a major dredging work on the Teesta River and build reservoirs and embankments, without India having to play any role but Bangladesh has kept the multi-million dollar project on hold.
    Several analysts said the Chinese involvement in the project could complicate the India-Bangladesh dispute over the major common river.
    The incumbent government of Prime Minister Hasina has skillfully negotiated the interests of Bangladesh which is sandwiched between China and India.
    Deltaic Bangladesh is crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers, 54 of which enter into the South Asian country from India.
    The 414-kilometre Teesta River originates in the Himalayas in Sikkim state and passes through West Bengal before entering Bangladesh, where it meets the Brahmaputra, another major river.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)