External affairs minister S Jaishanker in Dhaka. Image credit: Twitter

The NRC update process is India’s “internal affair”, says external affairs minister S Jaishanker, in a clear attempt to assuage Bangladesh’s apprehensions over the issue.

This process involved documenting and identifying illegal immigrants in Assam, he told reporters on Tuesday after holding talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen here.

Jaishankar, who was in Dhaka on a two-day visit which is his first to Bangladesh after taking over external affairs minister, said he had a fruitful interaction with his Bangladeshi counterpart.

“India is looking forward to host Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New Delhi in October,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Jaishankar in a joint press conference with Momen said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is India’s “internal matter” amid concerns in Bangladesh.

Jaishanker’s statement indicates the Modi government is not considering any pushback of those who are identified as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

Analysts say any pushback would adversely affect bilateral ties between the two otherwise friendly neighbours.

Jaishankar also said India’s position and commitment to the pending Teesta water deal remained as it was.

The Teesta deal was set to be signed during the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in September 2011, but was postponed at the last minute due to objections raised by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Teesta water is crucial for Bangladesh, especially in the leanest period from December to March, when the water flow often temporarily comes down to less than 1,000 cusecs from 5,000 cusecs.

Momen said he was “excited” as he had a “very good meeting” with Jaishankar.

“We more or less came to a consensus on all issues,” he said, without naming the issues on the agenda.

Earlier, Jaishankar started his official engagements on Tuesday by paying respects to Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the ‘Bangabandhu Memorial Museum’ in Dhanmondi.

His visit has raised hopes of some forward movement on the Teesta issue.

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