TIPAIMUKH DAM PLAN
Dhaka to do whatever needed in its interests: FM
The foreign minister, Dipu Moni, on Wednesday said Bangladesh will do whatever it needed to protect its own interest.
‘Our ties with India are very significant and we will maintain the relations, upholding our national interest,’ she said in reply to a question on India’s plan for Tipaimukh dam at a briefing in her office.
Dipu Moni said, ‘It is not the question of hate or love. National interest is what is crucial.’
She told reporters a Bangladesh parliamentary team, having some experts, was scheduled to visit the Tipaimukh dam site sometime in July for an on-the-spot investigation and collection of data on and statistics of the project.
‘After analysing the data collected by the team and provided by India, Bangladesh will make its decision,’ the foreign minister said.
Referring to her recent meeting with the Indian state minister for external affairs Preneet Kaur, she said she had requested India not to go ahead with the Tipaimukh dam project until Bangladesh’s parliamentary delegation concluded their visit to the project site.
Dipu Moni said Bangladesh had demanded a meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission, which was formed to discuss water issues between Bangladesh and India.
‘We will raise the issue at the next JRC meeting,’ she said. In reply to another question as to whether India provided any information for Bangladesh in recent times, Dipu Moni said her office had received communications from New Delhi which the foreign ministry sent to the water resources ministry and the parliamentary standing committee on water resources ministry for analysis.
‘If the data on and statistics of the Tipaimukh dam go against the interest of Bangladesh, we will do whatever is needed to protect our interests,’ she said.
Asked about the letter of the leader of the opposition in parliament, Khaleda Zia, to the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, seeking official help for a seven-member team of experts nominated by the BNP to visit the dam site, Dipu Moni said her ministry would take action in keeping with the decision of the Prime Minister’s Office.
In reply to another question, both Dipu Moni and the state minister for foreign affairs, Hassan Mahmud , said it would have been easier for the government to handle the issue if the previous BNP-led government had taken up the matter seriously with India in 2003 when the Tipaimukh dam project was firmed up. Even the BNP government was silent when the land acquisition started in 2005.
‘Their [BNP’s] policy is to please India when in power and protest against India when in the opposition,’ Hassan said.
Dipu Moni said when the BNP had the opportunity to speak against the dam, it kept mum and now the party was trying to make a political issue out of it.
TIPAIMUKH DAM PLAN