Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla is on a two day visit to Dhaka, beginning from Tuesday

In the course of his two-day visit, Foreign Secretary Shringla will “discuss and take forward cooperation on matters of mutual interest,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press statement.

This is Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s first foreign visit since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world.

During the visit, Foreign Secretary Shringla, who was the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka from January 2016 to January 2019, will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and other senior functionaries of the Bangladesh government.

The visit is seen in the light of Dhaka’s growing overture with Beijing which has reportedly promised to provide $1 billion to Bangladesh for a project related to the Teesta River.

“A massive project funded by China has been adopted for the management of the Teesta River and China has agreed to fund it. Hopefully, we can start the project by December” a senior official at Bangladesh’s Water Development Board was quoted by the country’s BenarNews as saying.

As per this Bangladeshi news portal, the Teesta River project is one of nine projects for which Dhaka has sought financial assistance from Beijing.

Originating in the Himalayas and flowing through Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal, the Teesta River enters in the Rangpur division of Bangladesh before finally pouring into the Brahmaputra River.

Bangladesh wants 50 percent share of the river’s water for the December-March period.

But any deal on this issue couldn’t take place because of non-cooperation from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, had reportedly assured Prime Minister Hasina of resolving the contentious Teesta river water issue, five years after Dhaka is showing impatience over it. In this background, Foreign Secretary’s Bangladesh visit assumes high significance.