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What Is Teesta Agreement

[iv] Savojit Bagchi, “What is the lowdown on sharing of Teesta waters,” The Hindu, April 08, 2017, Available at www.thehindu.com/news/international/the-hindu-explains-teesta-water-sharing/article17894299.ece accessed May 26, 2021 [ix] Jayanta Basu, “Why does the Teesta River dry up in non-monsoon months? Because it has more dams than it needs,” Scroll, June 20, 2017 Available on scroll.in/article/841068/why-does-the-teesta-river-run-dry-in-non-monsoon-months-because-it-has-more-dams-than-it-needs Accessed May 26, 2021 At a time when India and Bangladesh seem to be witnessing a Shonali Adhyaya (Golden Age) in their bilateral relations, not properly addressing these contentious issues. It is in India`s interest to finalize the Teesta water-sharing agreement before Bangladesh slips into China`s tight embrace. Bangladesh has made its position clear. It will be part of China`s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), although it continues to believe that India is its “most important partner”. Dhaka is walking a diplomatic tightrope while trying to maintain cordial relations with Beijing and New Delhi. Sheikh Hasina wants to conclude the Teesta agreement to appease his national audience. Shiekh Hasina was seen by Bangladeshis as “pro-Indian” and it is important for their political future that the deal is reached. In 2015, the Indian Prime Minister`s visit to Dhaka raised expectations for the progress of the issue, but it remains unresolved. In India, however, states have significant influence over cross-border agreements, which hinders the political decision-making process. Given Bangladesh`s strategic importance and as a responsible riparian state, India needs to take proactive steps towards a swift conclusion of the Teesta Accord, suggests an Indian online article by P Ujwala. India experienced an upsurge in uprisings in the northeast under the rule of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) from 2001 to 2005. A new policy of befriending the BNP backfired.

Bangladesh reportedly protected insurgents involved in anti-Indian activities, and almost all talks at the home ministerial level ended without a deal, and India had to increase the security budget for the northeast. A few years after taking office in 2008, the Awami League targeted insurgent camps and handed over the rebels to India. As India`s security establishment breathed a sigh of relief, relations improved on several fronts. But in 2017, the Awami League is on a sticky wicket. It will face one of the toughest elections in two years, and water sharing will be one of the main issues. As former Bangladeshi High Commissioner tariq Karim said, even if most of the agreements are respected, many in Bangladesh “will only ask why Teesta was not made.” The Awami League will have to have an answer. But that didn`t happen when Mamata withdrew from the visit and opposed it, embarrassing Bangladesh. It was also not a pleasant opportunity for India, as a land use agreement in Bangladesh for India`s intergovernmental connectivity was also abandoned. India also has much to gain from the conclusion of the treaty. When India signs the treaty, it will be able to send a positive signal to all stakeholders in Bangladeshi society and dispel the fears that exist in the mind of the average Bangladesh about India`s intentions. India will be able to consolidate its position as Bangladesh`s all-time friend in the neighbourhood and, in due course, it will be able to further develop a strong economic and strategic partnership without having to worry about the ruling party in Bangladesh.

According to the Land Border Agreement signed in 2014, it is this Teesta water-sharing agreement that will be remembered in the context of Indo-Bangladeshi relations Shonali Adhyaya. But India must act now. Negotiations on a fair share of water in common rivers, including the Teesta, date back to 1972, when the Joint Rivers Commission held its first meeting in the Indian capital. At the 25th meeting of the JRC in Dhaka on 20 July 1983, Bangladesh and India agreed on an ad hoc sharing of teesta water during the dry season. The ad hoc sharing agreement was valid until the end of 1985 and then extended until the end of 1987. The big disappointment during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s visit to India last weekend was the failure to conclude the Teesta water-sharing agreement between the two countries. The data available on thethirdpole.net show that this is due to the fact that the river now contains only one-sixteenth of the water that both countries need for agriculture during the dry season from February to May. Bangladesh also remains an important pivotal state in South Asia in terms of Chinese engagement in the region. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Bangladesh in 2016 and the two countries signed 27 agreements on various infrastructure projects worth about $24 billion. China has also been the largest supplier of military equipment to Bangladesh, selling $2,886 million worth of equipment between 2000 and 2020, accounting for 65 percent of total defense imports. [xii] Although Bangladesh has involved China in various projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it has always been balanced in its approach to key development projects such as the cancellation of the port of Sanodia and the pursuit of a multi-stakeholder approach involving India, China and Belgium for the port of Payra.

This could change if the BNP-led opposition is able to exert sufficient pressure on the Bangladesh government in the future and gather anti-Indian sentiments, including using the Teesta dispute to secure power and thus undermine progress in India-Bangladesh relations. Teesta is therefore not only a cross-border conflict over water, but an important principle of Bangladesh`s domestic politics and developing geopolitics in the region. After a timid agreement in 1983, when an almost equal distribution of water was proposed, countries faced an obstacle. The temporary agreement could not be implemented. Talks resumed after the Awami League returned to power in 2008 and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to Dhaka in 2011. .

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