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India must settle its Teesta river dispute with Bangladesh to achieve lasting profits – The Diplomat


Circuit | Diplomatic | South Asia

The “golden era” in India-Bangladesh relations must also lead to the most severe resolution between the two sides.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently ended his visit to Bangladesh after joining the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh independence and the 100th anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman amid much fanfare. While the visit reaffirms his long-term commitment to the “Neighbor First” policy and explains the partnership’s future development, the high-level visit does not resolve the issue. on the Teesta River water sharing, the most important bilateral issue related to India and Bangladesh today.

The Teesta River, a tributary of Brahmaputra, originates from the Teesta Kangse glacier and flows through the state of Sikkim and West Bengal before entering Bangladesh. It has been mired in conflict since 1947 when the basin areas of Teesta were assigned to India. After the establishment of the Indo-Bangladesh Joint River Commission in 1972, a special agreement to share the Teesta waters was made in 1983, in which India received 39% of the water and Bangladesh 36%. . The Teesta River issue was of significant importance after the signing of the Ganga Water Treaty in 1996. Negotiations between India and Bangladesh on sharing the river’s water began soon after but progress was made. limiter.

2011, India agreed shares 37.5% of the Teesta waters while retaining 42.5% of the waters during the lean season from December to March. However, the deal was never successful due to opposition from the Western Premier Bengal Mamata Banerjee, who strongly opposed the treaty. Sharing the Teesta waters has been around for a long time need of Bangladesh since the livelihoods of millions of people tied to river water. Furthermore, the continuous construction of dams along the Teesta River in Sikkim has resulted in a seasonal stream flowing into Bangladesh. Since Bangladesh is a lower riparian country, of course sensitive on transboundary river issues, and sharing of Teesta waters are now key to improving India-Bangladesh relations.

However, India has consistently shied away from tackling the Teesta water issue and this has annoyed Bangladesh. The Dhaka tribe has note Recently, despite the friendly relationship between the two countries, India and Bangladesh have not discussed river water issues (including the Teesta issue) through their common platform, the Joint River Commission (JRC). ) in the last 10 years with the JRC. The Ministerial meeting was held in New Delhi in March 2010. Similarly, the Daily Star has lament that despite sharing 54 rivers, India and Bangladesh have not signed a bilateral treaty on water sharing for the past quarter century.

Due to the difficultness of India, Bangladesh tried cultivate China and is “considering a proposal from China to dredge and fill large portions of the Teesta River so that it forms a single manageable channel”. India has protested the project because it does not want Chinese technicians to get close to the “Chicken Neck” corridor near Siliguri that connects mainland India with its northeast. However, the leading Bangladeshi scholars have question India’s stance on this issue and pleaded with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to proceed with the project with China.

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At a time when India and Bangladesh seemed to be witness a Shonali Adhyaya (Golden Era) in their bilateral relationship, failing to properly address these controversial issues can be debilitating. India is interested in signing the Teesta water sharing agreement before Bangladesh falls into China’s tight embrace. Bangladesh has made its stance clear. It will be part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) although it continues believe India is “the most important partner”. Dhaka is tightening diplomacy while trying to maintain friendly relations with both Beijing and New Delhi. Sheikh Hasina wants to end the deal with Teesta to appease the domestic audience. Shiekh Hasina has watched is Bangladesh’s “pro-India” and it is important to her political future that the agreement is approved.

India also benefits from the signing of the treaty. If India signed the treaty, it would be able to send a positive signal to all stakeholders in Bangladeshi society and allay concerns that persist in the minds of the average Bangladeshi about India’s intentions Degree. India will be able to consolidate its position as an all-weather friend of Bangladesh in the immediate vicinity and in the right time it will be able to further develop its economic and strategic partnership. Strong strategy without worrying about the ruling party in Bangladesh. After the Land Boundary Agreement was signed in 2014, this Teesta water sharing agreement will be remembered as part of the Shonali Treaty of the India-Bangladesh relationship. But India must act now.

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