Saturday, February 23, 2019 | ePaper

Govt's weak-kneed diplomacy is shameful

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AT last an adviser to the Prime Minister has admitted that Bangladesh has been denied the right to the water of shared rivers by neighbouring India from the very beginning. The comment comes at a time when division and debate over the issue among political circles is likely to increase ahead of the national election.
We have witnessed the weakness of subsequent governments in foreign policy crafting with shameful competition for earning blessings of the neighboring country which erected barbed-wire fence in the borders, made the Radcliffe Line a bloody line for killing innocent Bangladeshis, withdrew water from the common rivers denying water rights, and almost occupied the market getting approval of transit, transshipment, and using the seaports.
News outlets reported that PM's economic affairs adviser Mashiur Rahman said India denied the right to the lower riparian Bangladesh and appropriated an international river as its own river. He said a 1919 act and a 1935 act recognised the right of the states and provinces in British India to the trans-state rivers. Unfortunately, India has recently abolished the provision for forming a separate commission, formed during British rule, for solving water-sharing issues. Bangladesh and India shared 54 rivers but Bangladesh has a water-sharing agreement with only one - the Ganges. India recognizes the right of lower riparian's within India, but beyond India, they ignore the fact that other lower riparian states could have similar claims.
Northern India has a water-sharing agreement since 1950 with arch-rival Pakistan for using Indus basin and most of the canals inside Indian territories.
A commission set up to resolve disputes between states that share the Godavari and the Kaveri rivers gave a decision that if the upper riparian country affects the lives of the lower riparian people, the upper riparian country needs to repair and restore the normal flow of water. But India doesn't care about the sufferings of Bangladesh whatever Bangladesh do for its comfort, business and regional power.
There should be negotiations and renegotiations on how the water would be shared among the neighbouring countries in which the common rivers flow.

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