In view of little likelihood of signing the Teesta deal soon, New Delhi is trying to work out alternative options to make Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s upcoming India tour a success, says The Times of India.
It reports that India’s central government is mulling innovative transport and power projects with Bangladesh in the Sunderbans.
The Times report did not mention anything about the environmental concerns over the planned India-Bangladesh Rampal power plant in view of its location in the vicinity of the “ecologically fragile Sundarbans”. Civic groups and main opposition parties are opposing the coal-based plant.
According to the Times, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banaerjee’s opposition to the Teesta deal led to a search for options that include adopting a "basin management" approach to joint initiatives in the Ganga-Brahmputra-Meghna basin.
This, the newspaper said, envisages a multi-sectoral approach towards developing river transport and hydropower with Bangladesh.
The newspaper quoting Indian experts said activation of the existing joint rivers commission (JRC) and conservation of Sundarban as a common project under existing MoU are the other key points that can boost ties beyond a Teesta pact.
"Smart diplomacy demands that we should not stick to Teesta (deal) when it looks quite difficult. India can explore other options," Uttam Kumar Sinha of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses was quoted to have said.
“The basin management approach could definitely be an effective way to deal with common concerns,” he added.
Premier Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to visit India in early April.