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Last updated: 27 Sep, 2014  

Breakthrough Possible in Teesta River Agreement

PR Newswire | 08 Nov, 2013
MUMBAI: A new formula for resolving the impasse over the Teesta River Agreement provides hope. It is outlined in the latest report of the Strategic Foresight Group, Rivers of Peace: Restructuring India Bangladesh Relations.

It advocates the signing of the Teesta River Agreement on the basis of equitable sharing of water between Bangladesh and India, a Joint Investment Plan for projects to augment water flow in dry months in the Teesta Basin, and revamping of the Bangladesh India Joint Rivers Commission.

Strategic Foresight Group (SFG) has presented the report to the Prime Minister's Offices of both India and Bangladesh. It is in the process of discussing it with the key stakeholders in Dhaka, New Delhi and Kolkata.

The Teesta Agreement was negotiated over 18 years and was expected to be signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka in 2011. It has eluded political consensus since then. The new SFG formula provides win-win framework for Bangladesh, India and particularly the state of West Bengal.

Strategic Foresight Group believes that the time for signing an agreement on Teesta along with other components of its Blue Peace formula is now, despite the apparent uncertainty created by the election period. While it is legally possible for the Government of India to enter into a treaty with the Government of Bangladesh, under Article 73 of the Indian Constitution and Entry 10 and Entry 14 of the Union List, without consulting the Government of West Bengal, it would be much more wise and sustainable to bring all major stakeholders in Bangladesh and India on board. This will make it possible to go beyond an allocation agreement to real cooperation and an era of prosperity and peace in the region.

Ms Ilmas Futehally, Executive Director of Strategic Foresight Group, added: "As soon as the Teesta is signed, it will open way for a Joint Investment Plan for the Teesta Basin to augment water flow in the lean period, store flood water during summer for retrieval in dry months, introduce drought resistant crops, and transform economy of the northern districts of West Bengal and north-western districts of Bangladesh."

She said that besides the Teesta Agreement and the Joint Investment Plan, a proposal to revamp the Bangladesh India Joint Rivers Commission created a three-dimensional Blue Peace framework.

Ms Futehally explained: "Instead of two parallel nationalist committees need a genuine joint institution for holistic, collaborative and sustainable management of all shared rivers between India and Bangladesh. It should also provide for a well-defined arbitration mechanism."

The Strategic Foresight Group report Rivers of Peace: Restructuring India Bangladesh Relations is a result of hydrological, legal, economic and political research. It particularly gained from India Bangladesh Roundtable in Mumbai in July 2013, which was attended by leaders of main political parties from both countries.

Strategic Foresight Group is an independent international think tank. It has worked with or on 50 countries from four continents since its inception in 2002 in Mumbai, India.

For more details contact Ms Ilmas Futehally, SFG Executive Director, at ilmasf@strategicforesight.com  and download the full report at http://www.strategicforesight.com/publication_pdf/22345riversofpeace-website.pdf

Primary Media Contact : Ilmas Futehally, ilmasf@strategicforesight.com, 91-22-26318260

 
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