The water agreement between India and Bangladesh, signed in 1996, was a significant step towards resolving water-sharing issues between the two countries. The agreement aimed to ensure equitable sharing of waters of the Ganges and its tributaries, which is a critical resource for both India and Bangladesh.
The agreement was signed after decades of negotiations and discussions between the two countries. The primary aim of the agreement was to provide Bangladesh with a guaranteed share of the Ganges waters during the dry season, which is critical for its agriculture and economy.
Under the agreement, India agreed to release a minimum of 35,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water to Bangladesh during the dry season (January to May). During the monsoon season (June to October), India can use the excess water for its use, but it has to ensure that the water flow to Bangladesh is not affected.
The agreement also established a Joint River Commission (JRC) between India and Bangladesh, comprising representatives from both countries. The JRC is responsible for monitoring and regulating the water flow in the Ganges and its tributaries, resolving disputes, and sharing data between the two countries.
The water agreement has been beneficial to both countries, as it has resolved long-standing water-sharing issues and improved bilateral relations. Bangladesh has benefited from a stable and guaranteed water supply during the dry season, which has enabled it to expand its irrigation and agriculture sector. India has also benefited from the agreement, as it has reduced the tensions with its neighbor, leading to improved trade and cooperation between the two countries.
However, the water agreement has faced some challenges over the years. The water flow in the Ganges and its tributaries is affected by various factors, including climate change and upstream development activities. This has led to disputes between the two countries, with Bangladesh accusing India of not releasing enough water during the dry season.
Despite these challenges, the water agreement has been successful in ensuring the equitable sharing of the Ganges waters between India and Bangladesh. It has demonstrated that through dialogue and cooperation, countries can resolve complex issues and pave the way for a better future.