India-Bangladesh Relations

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    Recently, India and Bangladesh have finalised the text of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on interim water sharing of Kushiyara river.

    Key Highlights

    • About: 
      • The text was finalised during the 38th meeting of the ministerial-level Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) of India and Bangladesh, held in Delhi.
      • The ministry welcomed finalisation of the design and location of water intake point on Feni river to meet drinking water needs of Sabroom town in Tripura as per the October 2019 India-Bangladesh MoU.
    • Headed by: 
      • The two sides were led by the Minister of Jal Shakti and his Bangladesh counterpart.
    • Issues Discussed:
      • Water-sharing of common rivers, 
      • Sharing of flood data, 
      • Addressing river pollution, 
      • Conducting joint studies on sedimentation management, 
      • River bank protection works, etc.
    • Significance of the meeting: 
      • It was held after a long gap of 12 years, although technical interactions under the framework of JRC have continued in the interim.
    • Rivers shared between the 2 countries: 
      • India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers.
      • Of which seven have been identified earlier for developing the framework of water-sharing agreements on priority. 
      • During the recent meeting, the neighbours agreed to include eight more rivers for data exchange.
    • Common Rivers:
      • The Ganges, 
      • Teesta, 
      • Manu, 
      • Muhuri, 
      • Khowai, 
      • Gumti, 
      • Dharla, 
      • Dudhkumar and 
      • Kushiyara. 

     

    India Bangladesh Relations

    • Political:
      • India was one of 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. 
      • India’s exports to Bangladesh during 2021 was US$14.09 Billion.
      • Bangladesh may become India’s fourth-largest export destination in FY22, jumping five places in two years.
      • Bangladesh’s growth stems largely from its success as an exporter of garments, which account for around 80 percent of its total exports. 
    • Power and energy cooperation:
      • Cooperation in the power sector has become one of the hallmarks of India -Bangladesh relations. 
        • Bangladesh is currently importing 1160 MW of power from India.
      • Bangladesh is the biggest development partner of India. 
        • India has extended 3 Lines of Credits (LOC) to Bangladesh in the last 8 years amounting to US$ 8 billion for the development of infrastructure in various sectors including roads, railways, shipping and ports.
    • Defense Cooperation: 
      • High level exchanges at the level of services chief of Indian Navy, Bangladesh Navy and Indian Air Force, conduct of second annual defense dialogue and inaugural tri-services staff talks, service specific talks of Navy and Air Force.
      • DG level talks between the Coast Guards have contributed to significant improvement in bilateral defense cooperation.
      • In the training domain both the countries have continued and enhanced mutual engagements.
      • Various Joint exercises take place between the two countries:
        • Exercise Sampriti (Army) and 
        • Exercise Milan (Navy).
    • Multimodal Connectivity: 
      • The passenger trains between India and Bangladesh:
        • Bandhan Express: 
          • starting from Kolkata for Khulna – Since 2017
          • It covers the distance via Petrapole and Benapole border route to cater to the demands of the people from both countries.
        • Maitree Express:
          • Starting from Dhaka for Kolkata – since 2008
          • The tri-weekly service between Kolkata and Dhaka used to run with 90 percent occupancy. 
        • Mitali Express: 
          • Starting from New Jalpaiguri in North Bengal to Dhaka.
      • Bus Service:
        • Both the governments decided to commence: Dhaka-Siliguri-Gangtok-Dhaka and DhakaSiliguri-Darjeeling-Dhaka bus service to enhance people to people contacts between both the countries and the trail run of Dhaka-Siliguri-Gangtok-Dhaka was also held in December 2019.
      • The Government of India has also been providing grant assistance to Bangladesh for various infrastructure projects including the construction of Akhaura-Agartala rail link, dredging of inland waterways in Bangladesh and construction of India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline.
    • Capacity Building and Human Resource Development:  
      • Human resource development is a key component of India’s development cooperation efforts in Bangladesh through its several ongoing training programs and Scholarships.
      • 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.
      • Its training programs including Yoga, Kathak, Manipuri dance, Hindi language, Hindustani classical music and the cultural programs of renowned artists of India and Bangladesh contribute to the promotion of people-to-people contacts.

    Way Ahead

    • India needs to look at more ways to deepen its ties with Bangladesh, especially keeping in mind the shifting nature of geopolitics and geoeconomics in South Asia. 
    • India and Bangladesh have more or less agreed on most issues and this stability must be maintained.
    • India needs to find a fine balance in respecting Bangladesh’s economic growth while maintaining its economic progress. 

    Kushiyara River

    • The Kushiyara River is a distributary river in Bangladesh and Assam, India. 
    • It forms on the India-Bangladesh border as a branch of the Barak River, when the Barak separates into the Kushiyara and Surma. 
    • The waters of the Kushiyara thus originate in the state of Nagaland in India and pick up tributaries from Manipur, Mizoram and Assam. 
    • From its origin at the mouth of the Barak, also known as the Amlshid bifurcation point, the Kushiyara flows westward forming the boundary between Assam, India, and the Sylhet District of Bangladesh. 
    • Altogether, the Kushiyara runs about 160 kilometers

    Source: IE