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Repair ties with Dhaka, Indian daily tells Mamata

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CHIEF Minister Mamata Banerjee still has a chance to “repair West Bengal’s relations with Bangladesh and boost India’s”, a top Indian daily said Monday.

Mamata’s refusal to clear the Teesta water-sharing treaty with Bangladesh “did kill a splendid opportunity for India to bring bilateral ties to the next logical level”, The Indian Express said in an editorial.


The newspaper draws a contrast between Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and Mamata and says where Sarkar “has done an excellent job,” she “is yet to begin undoing last September’s failure” to approve of the Teesta water-sharing treaty.


Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s not attending the convocation of Calcutta University “is a good time to reflect on the damage Mamata’s last-minute backing out of the Teesta water treaty last year may have done to bilateral ties.


The CPI (M) has already accused Mamata of failing to ‘keep a cordial relationship with Bangladesh’ even as her government insists there’s no adverse fallout of that failure on the water treaty”, said the editorial


“That treaty is politically and economically important not only for Hasina – who has been outspokenly friendly with India – but also for India to secure transit rights through Bangladesh, which would cut time and distance from the Indian mainland to the Northeast”, the daily added.


It said Hasina’s recent trip to Tripura, with a large business delegation, “was meant to revive the old ties and build new ones. In the process, she also received the Tripura Central University’s first honorary D Litt. However, this visit may acquire an added significance, in contrast to her decision not to attend the convocation ceremony of the University of Calcutta.”


“..In undoing last September’s failure. There may not be much time left. She (Mamata) must begin now. At a time when Chief Ministers of (other Indian) border states are actively helping India’s neighbourly relations, Banerjee has no excuse vis-a-vis a country with which her state shares the added advantage of a common language and culture, much more than Tripura”, said The Indian Express editorial.


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