President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh has arrived in India on a major international tour. Speaking?
President Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh has arrived in India on a major international tour. Speaking at a banquet in his honour in New Delhi on Monday (19 December) President Zia said the recent agreement between India and Bangladesh on sharing the waters of the Ganges River was the most significant recent step in improving relations between the two nations.
SYNOPSIS: On his arrival in New Delhi President Zia was welcomed by Indian President Sanjiva Reddy and Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
His arrival in India marked the second leg of a major international tour of Nepal, India and Pakistan. The Bangladeshi President planned to discuss trade with India and the issue of the Ganges. He called for India and Bengladesh to strive to maintain the same spirit of understanding and cooperation that characterised the signing of the Farakka Agreement in settling all their bilateral issues and problems. During his visit President Zia placed a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
President Zia and Prime Minister Desai had two rounds of talks lasting more than two hours. He was due to visit a Muslim shrine before continuing his foreign tour. But the most important aspect of the Bangladeshi President's trip was the approval he bestowed on the recent agreement on the sharing of Ganges River waters between the two countries. He referred to the treaty during the banquet in his honour in New Delhi.
For 10 years before Bangladesh became independent Pakistan had opposed the construction of a barrage 320 kilometres (200 miles) north of Calcutta. It was claimed that the diversion of water from the Ganges would seriously affect farming, irrigation and fishing. The new treaty has laid out the way water should be shared during the dry season between January and May.
Observation posts have been set up at two separate points in India and Bangladesh to record the flow. At the signing ceremony in November the Indian Agriculture Minister described the occasion as a 'harbinger of good will and closer cooperation'.