The Teesta river dispute makes headlines every time there is a bilateral talk between India and Bangladesh. The dispute is regarding water sharing of River Teesta. Bangladesh wants a higher share than it gets now. Currently, its share is lower than that of India’s.
Article 253 of Indian Constitution gives power to the Union Government to enter any transboundary river water related treaty with a riparian state. The centre cannot do it arbitrarily without taking into consideration the social, political and eco-impact of such a treaty in the catchment area. In 2011, the West Bengal government commissioned a study on the Teesta issue under the noted hydrologist Kalyan Rudra. This is not acceptable to Bangladesh, where the water is required mainly during December – April period which is considered to be the leanest.
The previous Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) govt. headed by Begum Khaleda Zia was not very receptive to India’s concern. The BNP, during its tenure in power between 1991-1996 and again from 2001 to 2006, provided shelter to leaders and cadres from various North East based terror outfits.
But Sheikh Hasina’s Bangladesh Awami League(BAL) party followed India-friendly policies and also adopted a zero tolerance policy against anti-Indian terror outfits and eventually ULFA was banned. The cooperation between the two nations facilitated the finalisation of land boundary agreement.
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