Sheikh Hasina's second visit to India in 15 days, understand what is China's angle in the triangle of Teesta Master Plan?

Ananya Shroff
6 Min Read


New Delhi: Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, who recently came to Delhi to attend PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony, is coming to India on June 21. This is the second time in 15 days that Sheikh Hasina will visit New Delhi. In fact, after the India visit, the Bangladeshi PM is also scheduled to visit China. In such a situation, this visit is being seen as an attempt by the Bangladesh government to strike a balance between India and China. It is believed that during this time the Prime Ministers of both will discuss and review the broad scope of bilateral relations.

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Issues like rail and energy connectivity may be discussed
Apart from this, there can also be talks on rail, energy connectivity and many other important issues. However, experts are saying that during this time there can also be talks between the Prime Ministers of the two countries regarding the Teesta Master Plan. In fact, after coming back to power in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina has recently talked about getting a loan from China in view of implementing the Teesta Master Plan in her country's Parliament. China has again shown interest in this previously pending project. However, in May, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra was also on a visit to Bangladesh, after meeting him, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud also said that India also wants to provide financial help for building a dam on Teesta.

Sheikh Hasina hopes for clarity from India
China affairs expert Harsh Pant says that it is natural that Sheikh Hasina would be expecting some kind of clarity from India before taking any step on China's proposal on this issue and this issue can be raised before the top leadership during her visit to India. He says that 'wherever there is a scope for different views between India and neighboring countries, China tries to enter there. Especially because of India, the Teesta issue has been hanging for a long time, due to which Bangladesh has a negative attitude towards India on this issue, people feel that India is not resolving it. Although during 2014, India-Bangladesh came very close to resolving it, but Mamata Banerjee had different views on it. That is why it could not move forward. Actually, the issue here is related to the jurisdiction between the state and the central government.

China has indicated this through its proposal
He further says that through its new proposal, China wants to indicate that it is with Bangladesh. However, Hasina knows that if she goes with China, it will be an uncomfortable situation for India. This is why she must have given a statement in the Parliament to create some pressure on this issue. This is why before going to China, she must have come to India and wanted clarity on what exactly India wants in this? After all, she would not want relations with India to sour on this issue because if the issue of Teesta is left aside, relations between the two countries are going very well. But it is also clear that there is a lot of internal pressure on Sheikh Hasina. In such a situation, India will have to adopt an active stance to sideline China from here.

The economic condition of Bangladesh increased the anger of the people
International affairs expert Rajiv Dogra also says something similar. He says that Bangladesh is in a changed situation as compared to last year. Earlier it was in the role of an economically emerging economy, but the changed economic conditions have increased people's anger against the government, while Islamic parties are also raising their heads. In such a situation, any government tries to improve the economic situation. China keeps its bank open for such a situation. It keeps trying to increase its influence on countries in exchange for economic help. Bangladesh also keeps its options open. Another important thing is that China is believed to have a hand in whatever is happening on the Myanmar border. Overall, Bangladesh does not want to anger China.

There are two parties interested in a deal
He further says that the recent statement of the Bangladesh PM should be seen as a classic diplomatic move in which pressure is created that the two parties are interested in a deal. He also says that it is important for India to know why China is showing so much interest in this project? However, on how important it is from a strategic point of view, Harsh Pant says that if the Teesta Master Plan is prepared on the parameters of development that have been put forward, then it is a strategic challenge for India. Because the Chicken Neck Corridor is anyway a strategically sensitive issue for India. If China invests in this master plan, then many kinds of problems can arise for India in the future. Both China and Dhaka can become a matter of strategic concern for India.

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