Bay of Bengal Current Affairs - 2020

Bridge Constructed across Teesta River in North Sikkim by BRO opened

On March 21, 2020, the Borders Road Organization opened a 360 feet long bridge across Teesta river. The bridge was constructed by BRO under Project Swastik.

Highlights

Till date, the connectivity was routed through restricted army land. With the bridge being opened, the army land access is to be closed for the public. The bridge will help in increasing tourism and also help in movement of logistics of Armed Forces.

Teesta River

Teesta river flows through the states of West Bengal and Sikkim. It flows into Bay of Bengal after traversing through Bangladesh. It is a tributary of the Jamuna river (Brahmaputra).

There is a long history of dispute between India and Bangladesh over the sharing of Teesta river. Teesta cover 14% of total cropped area of Bangladesh. But it supports more than 73% of its population. On the other hand, Teesta is the lifeline of West Bengal.

Teesta River Agreement

In 1983, Teesta river sharing agreement was signed between India and Bangladesh. According to the agreement, 39% of waters is to be shared by India and 36% water by Bangladesh.  Later in 1984, India’s share was increased to 42.5% and Bangladesh’s to 37.5%.

What is the Teesta River Dispute?

In 1998, Bangladesh began the Teesta Barrage Irrigation project. With this, the farmers of Bangladesh began enjoying 3 cropping seasons including dry seasons as well. Currently, India is not able to provide enough Teesta waters to Bangladesh during summer. This is because, several glaciers of the Teesta river are drying up in summers. This is reducing flow of the river in summer. Hence, India is unable to fulfil Bangladesh demand of more share of Teesta Water.

Indian Constitution

As water is state subject Central Government has no say. However, article 253 provides powers to the Union Government to interfere in any transboundary water issue.

SAMPRITI-IX: India-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise to be held in Meghalaya

A Joint Military Exercise between India and Bangladesh is to be held at Umroi, Meghalaya between 3rd February, 2020 and 16th February, 2020. The exercise is called “SAMPRITI”

Highlights

During the joint exercise, Command Post Exercise and Field Training Exercise is to be conducted according to United Nations Charter. The troops of both the armies will also practice Counter Terrorist operation.

India-Bangladesh Defence Cooperation

In 2017, India and Bangladesh signed defence agreements in order to conduct military exercises. India since then has been assisting Bangladesh in training their officers.

In October 2019, the countries signed MoU on coastal surveillance system. The MoU also included a Standard Operating Procedure for operating the ports of Chattogram and Mongola. Apart from this, it allowed India to use 1.82 cusec of water from Feni river of Bangladesh.

Other Exercises

The first ever India-Bangladesh Naval exercise was conducted in Vishakhaptnam in October 2019. The Bangladesh Naval Ships also participated in CORPAT before arriving to Vizag for the joint Naval Exercise.

CORPAT is Coordinated Patrol. This will help both the countries to replenish security in the Bay of Bengal Region and also in the Indian Ocean Region.