From: Associated Press
Published September 17, 2004 12:00 AM

India, Bangladesh Agree to Study Common River as Part of Water-Sharing Talks

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh and India agreed this week to jointly study their common Teesta River over the next three months before engaging in water-sharing negotiations, officials said.


The Teesta River enters Bangladesh in the north from India, and Dhaka wants an equal share of its waters.


"We have decided to do a study on the availability of water in the Teesta and requirements for our agriculture and industry," said Omar Faruk Khan of the Bangladesh Water Resources Ministry. "We are hopeful of reaching a lasting solution after getting the study."


Long-standing disputes over water exist between India and Bangladesh, which share 54 common rivers.


The South Asian countries finished two-day talks in Dhaka this week as a prelude to negotiations on the sharing of seven waterways scheduled for October. Because of this week's decision to jointly study the Teesta River, the meeting could be put off until the report is complete, Khan said.


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"Before we sign an agreement, we need to examine the technical aspects of water sharing," said Vinod K. Duggal, India's water resources secretary. "We have differences of opinion. Both sides have agreed to narrow down the differences."


Bangladesh signed a 30-year treaty with India in 1996 to share water from the Ganges River.


Source: Associated Press


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