Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina felt "indebted" to India for supporting her during her imprisonment under the previous military-backed interim regime, and had authorized her adviser to open an exclusive channel of negotiation with New Delhi, unknown even to the Foreign Ministry here.

The premier's foreign affairs adviser Gawher Rizvi told US Ambassador James Moriarty over the course of a meeting on October 24, 2009, how Hasina felt "indebted" to New Delhi, particularly to the Congress party, for supporting her during the difficult time, according to a US diplomatic document revealed by WikiLeaks.

The leaked US embassy cable said the adviser also told the envoy "in the strictest confidence" of how he had spent the previous week in India, having been empowered by the prime minister to open a separate negotiating channel with New Delhi making use of the wide range of contacts he maintained in the Indian capital.

Rizvi, a former Ford Foundation Representative in Delhi, also told Moriarty that he would again be leaving for India the very next day and that his activities took place through a "Prime Ministerial Channel".

He also said the channel unknown to anyone in Bangladesh outside the prime minister's office, and even the Foreign Ministry and the Indian High Commission in Dhaka were unaware of his activities.

While in India, the adviser had apparently met a dozen ministers and senior officials, including the then National Security Adviser MK Narayanan.

He also held meetings with the then Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, and remained "convinced" that the Indian government was committed to resolving a number of long- standing issues.

Rizvi did however, flag water sharing as the most difficult issue to be resolved between the two governments – a judgement that seems to have proven right with the much publicised failure to reach an agreement over sharing the waters of the Teesta recently.

Rizvi also informed the US ambassador that Indians were "pleased" with the level of cooperation on security issues, but viewed Bangladesh's lack of counterterrorism capacity as a major impediment.

The Foreign Ministry comes in for some severe criticism from Rizvi, who blames it for obstructing progress in several key areas, including Indian access to Ashuganj port and resolving the maritime boundary dispute.

The Indian Government was apparently "annoyed" about Bangladesh seeking international arbitration without prior consultation.