What Bangladesh should demand from India

Mar 23, 2017
The upcoming visit by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India has generated a lot of excitement and expectations among the people in both Bangladesh and India. Although it is not clear if any issue pertinent to water resources management will be discussed or if any treaty on the Teesta River will be signed during this visit, it is certain that various issues related to river and water sharing agreements will be on the mind of Sheikh Hasina. As per news reports, the people of Bangladesh want an immediate resolution to the issue of Teesta water sharing. The Farakka Barrage issue has resurfaced both in India and Bangladesh following the demand by Bihar's Chief Minister (CM) Nitish Kumar to demolish it. The Ganges Barrage issue has been in the news following the objection raised by West Bengal's CM Mamata Banerjee. The question that begs an answer is how should PM Sheikh Hasina and her team deal with these water and river resources management issues during her visit.
Teesta water-sharing agreement
Given the strong opposition from Mamata Banerjee to reach a water-sharing agreement, it is highly unlikely that a treaty will be signed during this visit. The central government of India has been using the argument that water resources belong to states and without reaching an agreement with the government of West Bengal, it will be impossible to reach and implement such a treaty. This is unjustified as Article 253 of the Constitution of India gives the central government and the parliament “the power to make any law for whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country.” Therefore, if the central government wants to sign a treaty on Teesta water-sharing, it will be next to impossible for the state government not to comply. 
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Daily Star, March 23, 2017

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