The Teesta issue will dominate Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to Delhi

Last Updated on June 16, 2024 8:38 am

The Teesta issue is likely to gain prominence during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to India. The agreement has been suspended due to lack of domestic consensus in India. Although the Teesta water sharing formula was finalized about a decade and a half ago between the two countries.

But the agreement was not signed due to the objection of West Bengal. An initiative to increase the flow of water in the Teesta and conserve both banks is being discussed in the government circles of Bangladesh.

India was shaken when China showed a positive attitude towards financing such projects. India has expressed interest in such a project on the Teesta. As a result, it is believed that the issue may be discussed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to India.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is going to Delhi on a two-day visit on June 21. His visit was at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sheikh Hasina, however, went to Delhi on June 8 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Modi’s government for the third term.

Then Sheikh Hasina invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Bangladesh. However, Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit will be a formal bilateral one. Although the visit was pre-scheduled. But Sheikh Hasina is going to visit India again in a short period of time to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Modi’s government.

During the visit, Sheikh Hasina and Narendra Modi will hold a private meeting at Hyderabad House in Delhi. Both leaders will then lead their respective delegations in a formal bilateral meeting. A number of agreements and memorandums of understanding may be signed during the visit.

He will visit China on July 8 after returning from India. As a result, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Delhi ahead of her visit to Beijing is considered very significant.

Chinese diplomats in Dhaka say that China will check its feasibility if Bangladesh offers to finance the Teesta project in writing. The Chinese ambassador in Dhaka is calling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to China a ‘game changer’.

China has the target of becoming a partner in the development activities of the southern part of Bangladesh. In such an atmosphere, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra came to Dhaka and invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit India.

Vinay expressed India’s interest in the Kwatra Teestar project. India’s recent sensitivity to China’s military cooperation with neighboring countries is noticeable. Tensions escalated after clashes between India and China along the Galvan River in Ladakh.

Although India has no problem with the trade of neighboring countries including Bangladesh with China. Because India and China have a trade of 120 billion dollars annually. India has concerns about military cooperation with China.

India considers China’s participation in the Teesta project sensitive. Dhaka University International Relations Department Professor Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed said that the proposed Teesta development project is not a Chinese project. It is Bangladesh’s own project. The project is estimated to cost around one billion dollars. It is difficult to provide such a huge amount of money to Bangladesh. Therefore, borrowing from China is being considered. However, if India is sensitive to Chinese loans in the project, a consortium can be formed with both India and China. Both countries can finance different components of the project.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming visit to Delhi is likely to discuss the renewal of the Ganga water sharing agreement. The contract is due for renewal in 2026. The 30-year agreement was signed on 12 December 1996.

Also, Dhaka’s concern over the killing of Bangladeshis at the border may also be expressed during Sheikh Hasina’s visit this time. Cooperation in security, defence, connectivity, power and energy sectors may be discussed.

A new Economic Partnership Agreement may be negotiated by India. It may also discuss Indo-Pacific cooperation in the regional arena and the expansion of India’s ‘Sagar’ project in the Indian Ocean.

Also, there may be discussions on importing electricity from Nepal and Bhutan to Bangladesh through India. Full commissioning of the Maitri Bridge connecting Bangladesh with Tripura at Feni River and commissioning of one more unit at the Bangladesh-India Maitri Power Plant at Rampal may be on the agenda. India may discuss sale of military equipment. Also, the progress of implementation of various schemes of India’s debt may be discussed.

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