Suggests collaboration in climate change, transportation and agriculture
A partnership between New Delhi and Dhaka to save the rare ecosystem of the Sundarbans and that agreement should be signed in a boat — that was Union Minister Suresh Prabhu’s suggestion as Environment Minister in 1998 to his counterpart in Dhaka which could not be carried out.
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka, Mr. Prabhu, who now holds the portfolio of Railways, said his earlier suggestion could still be followed up with more such agreements between the two nations on various other fronts including climate change, transportation and agriculture.
“I proposed to my counterpart [then] that the Sundarbans is one common ecosystem, when the tigers go from India to Bangladesh and from there to here, they don’t need any passport or visa, no custom can stop them … why not we, therefore, conserve the rarest ecosystem in the world. I proposed I will come from this side on a boat; you come from that side … I think we should try to do that soon. We will have to do so many things together, this is one of them,” he said addressing the sixth India-Bangladesh friendship dialogue on “Bangladesh-India relations: bilateralism and beyond.”
Having ratified the four-decade-old India-Bangladesh Land Border Agreement, New Delhi is keen to extend its partnership with Bangladesh to areas such as climate change, energy and transportation, he said. Pitching for a joint water management between the two countries, Mr. Prabhu said: “It will be a great advantage to do joint water management, and save us from natural disasters; floods cause more damage than draught. If we put up a joint water management front with India, Bangladesh and even Nepal, without taking away anyone’s water, we can meet the challenge of climate change.”
He suggested collaboration even in the field of agriculture, and setting up of a grid for energy cooperation. “India and Bangladesh are trying to work together in the sector of railways, I have extended an invitation to my Bangladeshi counterpart,” he said.