Examination of the Contents of Joint Communique and Tipaimukh Dam

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Joint Communique

  • On an examination of the contents of joint communique, it appears India could have removed at least 200 items (instead of only 47) from its negative list, and provided more time-bound framework to settle sea boundary and land boundary issues, although in water sharing, the communique has provided an early meeting at the Ministerial level by April 2010.
  • Both sides would reap the benefits of transit facilities once put in place. It is also likely to open fresh avenues for regional connectivity.
  • Bangladesh will allow the Mongla and Chittagong seaports to be used for the movement of Indian goods, transported through rail and road linkages.
  • India and Bangladesh have also agreed to restore railway links in order to enhance people-to-people contact and boost bilateral trade and investment. Initially Bangladesh and India proposed a rail link between Agartala in Tripura and Akhura in Bangladesh; later, however, the link between Agartala and Gangasagar (in Bangladesh) was finalized to avoid passing through densely populated areas near the Akhura junction.
  • The Indian Railways՚ Northeast Frontier Railway is also conducting a survey to extend the railways up to Sabroom in Tripura and to set up connectivity with the Chittagong Port in Bangladesh, which is just 72kms away.

Tipaimukh Dam

The Tipaimukh Dam is located near the confluence of the Barak and the Tuivai rivers in the Tipaimukh sub-division of the Churachandpur district of Manipur. This area is close to the Manipur-Mizoram-Assam border, and therefore the project involves the three states in Northeast India. The Barak river which flows downstream to meet the Surma river system in Bangladesh, is considered to be the lifeline of the Sylhet region in Bangladesh. There have been intense debates in Bangladesh among civil society groups, environmental groups, human rights organizations, and media over the implications of the Tipaimukh Dam on the share of water coming from upper-riparian India. This debate continues to gather momentum as civil society groups from Manipur in India and Sylhet in Bangladesh voice similar concerns and demands across international borders.

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