PM to Hasina: Committed to resolving pending issues

The impasse in Parliament caused by the coal block allotment controversy has inadvertently cast a shadow on India-Bangladesh relations, giving Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the tough task of having to convey to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina the difficulty his government faces in ratifying the land boundary treaty.

The two leaders, who met on Wednesday on the margins of the NAM summit, had a one-on-one meeting without any aides, leading to speculation that Singh may have explained New Delhi's political compulsions to her.

Government sources, however, said they had no details about that meeting but added that the PM expressed his gratitude in the short delegation meeting for Bangladesh's cooperation in security matters.

He also conveyed India's decision to convert $200 million of the $1 billion line of credit into a grant.

For Hasina, the land boundary treaty is a major domestic achievement which she wants to showcase in the run-up to national elections next year. With time running out, Dhaka has been pressing New Delhi to ratify the agreement at the earliest. The other key issue with similar political resonance for her is an agreement over the sharing of the Teesta waters.

The historic treaty, which was signed last September when Singh travelled to Dhaka, needs to be ratified by Parliament for which the government has been in talks with the Opposition to ensure unanimous passage. While that conversation was moving positively, the government still does not have the support of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Centre had hoped to move on this in a decisive manner during the Monsoon session but the impasse has not allowed any progress. It already has the written consent of the West Bengal government, which it got from all states neighbouring Bangladesh, during the treaty negotiations.

But Banerjee, a key UPA ally, had developed differences over the number of people who would move into West Bengal as a fallout of the exchange of enclaves envisaged in the treaty.

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