Recently, India and Bangladesh have finalised the text of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on interim water sharing of the Kushiyara river (Kushiyara river treaty).
India-Bangla water disputes
- The Teesta River and the Ganges River dispute are the two main long-standing water conflicts between India and Bangladesh.
- Both rivers are important supplies of water for fishermen, farmers, and boatmen in both nations.
- Since the sacred river flows from India to Bangladesh, the Ganga River dispute has been a source of contention between the two countries for the past 35 years.
- There hasn’t been a long-term solution for sharing water offered despite several rounds of bilateral negotiations failing.
- In order to establish a water sharing arrangement for the following 30 years, a treaty was signed in 1996 which is about to expire.
Kushiyara River Treaty
- The agreement is aimed at addressing part of the problem that the changing nature of the river has posed before Bangladesh as it unleashes floods during the monsoon.
- It goes dry during the winter when demand of water goes up because of a crop cycle in Sylhet.
Why is the water from the Kushiyara so important for Rahimpur Canal?
The utility of the river and the canal during the lean/winter season had gone down, affecting cultivation of rice as well as a wide variety of vegetables for which Sylhet is famous.
Benefits to Bangladesh
- The water of Kushiyara will be channelled through the Rahimpur Canal project in Sylhet.
- It will benefit the farmers involved in Boro rice, which is basically the rice cultivated during the dry season of December to February and harvested in early summer.
- Bangladesh has been complaining that the Boro rice cultivation in the region had been suffering as India did not allow it to withdraw the required water from the Kushiyara.
India Bangladesh Relations
- India was the first countries to recognize Bangladesh and establish diplomatic relations immediately after its independence in December 1971.
- Internationally both the nations share the following platforms:
- SAARC, BIMSTEC, Indian Ocean Coastal Regional Cooperation Association, and Commonwealth.
- Trade and investment:
- Bangladesh is India’s biggest trade partner in South Asia and India is the largest market in Asia for Bangladesh’s exports.
- Power and energy cooperation:
- Cooperation in the power sector has become one of the hallmarks of India -Bangladesh relations.
- Bangladesh is the biggest development partner of India.
- Capacity Building and Human Resource Development:
- The Government of India has been training 1800 Bangladesh Civil Service officials from 2019 at National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG), Mussoorie
- The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC) in Dhaka plays an important role in the celebration of common cultural links between the two countries.
- Defence Cooperation:
- High level exchanges at the level of services chief of Indian Navy, Bangladesh Navy and Indian Air Force, the conduct of second annual defence dialogue and inaugural tri-services staff talks, service specific talks of Navy and Air Force.
- Various Joint exercises take place between the two countries:
- Exercise Sampriti (Army) and
- Exercise Milan (Navy).