Bangladesh and India are negotiating the modalities for holding a meeting of the Joint River Commission (JRC) possibly in December this year – 10 years after the last JRC meet was held.
The plan for the meeting is on course as envisaged by the sixth Joint Consultative Commission meeting held on 29 September this year, according to Anurag Srivastava, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, reports The Hindu.
"During the recently held Joint Consultative Commission meeting between the two foreign ministers, they urged the authorities concerned to consider convening the ministerial level JRC meeting. I understand both sides are in discussion on this," said Srivastava.
Besides, on last Tuesday, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami met Bangladesh's Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at the letter's office to discuss the issue.
They expressed optimism about holding a JRC meeting this year to discuss water sharing of the common rivers between the two countries.
Before the JRC, the two countries will hold a water resources secretary-level meeting to discuss relevant technical issues.
On Wednesday, the Indian envoy called on State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruk. Even though it was a courtesy call, they had talks on the future JRC meeting, sources said.
Bangladesh and India share 54 trans-boundary rivers. The JRC was formed to resolve conflicts about sharing of waters of these rivers.
So far, the two countries have only one treaty signed – back in 1996 – on sharing the water of the River Ganges.
The last meeting of the JRC was held in New Delhi in 2010.
During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India last year, both the countries agreed to direct the JRC technical committee to exchange updated data and information and prepare a draft framework to this end.
India and Bangladesh are geared for an early conclusion of the framework agreement for sharing of waters of six joint rivers like Manu, Muhuri, Gomti, Dharla, Dudhkumar and Khowai.
Both sides are also in talks on sharing the water of the River Teesta which has not made forward movement despite repeated show of support by the top leaders from both sides.
According to the discussion of 6th Bangladesh-India Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) between Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar in September, they discussed the Teesta issue.
Apart from Teesta, they discussed the draft of potential water sharing treaty of six trans-boundary rivers – Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gomti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.
They reviewed the possibility of holding the stalled Joint JRC meeting between Bangladesh and India soon as the last meeting was held in New Delhi in 2010.
"It [JRC] will be held very soon," Momen said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are supposed to have a virtual summit in December this year.
Both the countries are working on to hold the JRC meeting ahead of the two premiers' meeting, diplomatic sources said.