Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said Bangladesh will export only imported and processed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to India, not the country’s natural gas.
She also trashed the allegation that anti-state bilateral documents were signed during her recent India tour, saying it cannot happen that Sheikh Hasina will sacrifice the country’s interests.
“Those who have raised questions and talked (about the deals with India) have forgotten the past. It can never happen that Sheikh Hasina will sell Bangladesh’s interests and everyone should know it,” the Prime Minister said, adding that it is the BNP-Jamaat clique which came to power in 2001 giving undertaking to sell gas.
“After importing gas in bulk, we’ll add value and export it (to India). This how another product will be added to the export basket of Bangladesh,” she said.
She came up with the remarks while addressing a press conference at Ganobhaban about the outcomes of her recent official visits to the USA and India.
“LPG is not natural gas and it’s not produced in our country….we’ll import LPG from abroad for domestic purposes (in Bangladesh) and export it to Tripura (India) after bottling it,” Hasina said.
On October 5, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated three bilateral development partnership projects, including the import of bulk LPG from Bangladesh one during her visit to New Delhi.
During the visit, Bangladesh and India signed seven bilateral documents, aiming to further strengthen the relations between the two countries.
The documents were signed, exchanged, adopted and handed over after a meeting between Hasina and Modi at New Delhi’s Hyderabad House.
About the bilateral agreement on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec water from the Feni River by India for supplying drinking water to Sabroom town of Tripura, the Prime Minister said it is actually a bordering river and the neighbouring country will take very little amount of water from it.
Recalling the contribution of Tripura during the Liberation War in 1971, she said if Tripura wants anything, Bangladesh should give it to them.
Noting that the 116-km Feni River mostly flows along the Bangladesh-India border, Sheikh Hasina said both the countries have rights to its water.
“We’re giving them a very insignificant amount of water. I don’t see any reason behind huge outcry over the matter,” she said hinting that Bangladesh should think of water-sharing of other common rivers, too.
The Prime Minister said there is a water crisis in Sabroom town and people there use groundwater which might affect Bangladesh. “It’s odd to refuse if anyone wants water for drinking.”
She said BNP talks about the Feni River water, but its chairperson Khaleda Zia forgot to talk about the Farakka and share of water from the Ganges during her visit to India as the Prime Minister in 1991. “We’ve been able to protect our own interests in all cases,” she said.
The Joint River Commission has discussed the water-sharing of six rivers --Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar, Sheikh Hasina said, adding that steps are being taken in this regard.
She said a decision was also taken to jointly dredge the bordering rivers so that both the countries are benefited from it.
About allowing India to use Chattogram and Mongla ports for shipping goods, the Prime Minister said no country makes port only for its own use. “Nepal, India and Bhutan can use our ports and thus huge revenue will come,” she added.
“How will we enhance economic development without such regional cooperation? No one alone can make progress without regional cooperation,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh is now importing 1600 MW of electricity from India.
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