Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh should hold talks with India to settle the ongoing dispute over the construction of Tipaimukh dam, U.S. envoy said in Dhaka on Thursday.

“I urge the people and the government of Bangladesh to discuss with India to settle this [Tipaimukh dam] issue,” U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh James F Moriarty said at a discussion on ‘Engaging South Asia: Obama’s South Asia Policy,’ held in the capital, Dhaka.

The US diplomat, however, categorically ruled out his country’s intervention in the water row between the two countries.

India started the construction of Tipaimukh dam on the river Barak in Manipur in 2003 to generate electricity. It halted the project following national and international uproar and resistance against probable environmental degradation inside and outside the South Asian country’s territory. But India resumed the construction work in 2008.

On water disputes in South Asian region, the U.S. envoy said, “Obviously that needs to be worked out through dialogue with the countries engaged.”

Moriarty said beyond a 3D (democracy, development and denial to terrorism) basis of U.S.-Bangladesh relations, the new administration in Washington, also included issues like climate change and food security in its ties with Dhaka.

He said South Asia is now at the ‘centre stage’ of the new policy of the Obama administration, which also revised its strategy for troubled Pakistan and Afghanistan exploring allies’ support to contain terrorism while the US engaged with India on the basis of common concerns like threats of terrorism.

The Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) organized the discussion moderated by its Director General retired major general ANM Muniruzzaman.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-26June09-4:15 am (BST)