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International Cooperation

India-Nepal Cooperation

The Union Government is having continuous dialogue with the Government of Nepal at various levels for cooperation in the field of water resources development.

A Treaty on Integrated Development of Mahakali River had been signed between the Government of India and Government of Nepal in February 1996; which came into force in June 1997. Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on river Mahakali (known as river Sarda in India), is the centerpiece of Mahakali Treaty. India-Nepal Joint Group of Experts (JGE) has been overseeing the physical and financial progress with respect to finalization of Joint Detailed Project Report of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. All related field investigations have been completed and Detailed Project Report is to be finalized after resolving the pending issues; which are under discussion with Nepal. The project will have power and irrigation benefits besides incidental benefits of flood moderation.

During the 3rd meeting of India-Nepal Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) held from 29.09.08 to 01-10-08 at Kathmandu (Nepal), it was decided to set up Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) at the earliest for the development, execution and operation of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. During the 4th meeting of JCWR held on 12-13 March 2009 at New Delhi, draft Terms of Reference (TOR) of PDA were also discussed and it was agreed to discuss and finalize it in the next meeting of JCWR.

Agreement has also been reached with Nepal to take up joint field investigations, studies and preparation of Detailed Project Report of Sapta Kosi High Dam Multipurpose Project and Sun Kosi Storage-cum-Diversion Scheme. A Joint Project Office was opened in August 2004 in Nepal for undertaking the above work. It was to complete the investigation works by February, 2007. However, because of the prevailing situation in Nepal, the field investigations have been delayed. The field works at Kosi High Dam site in Nepal, are suspended since May, 2007 due to security reasons.

During the 3rd meeting of JCWR held at Kathmandu on 29th September - 1st October 2008, Nepalese side assured the Committee that security to the officers and staffs at the investigation work sites would be ensured. After the 3rd meeting of JCWR, the tenure of JPO-SKSKI was extended to June 2010 to complete the field investigations and preparation of DPR.

During the 4th meeting of JCWR held on 12-13 March 2009 at New Delhi, the Indian side reiterated its request to the Nepalese side to provide security at all sites, so that the investigations may be resumed immediately to complete the works by June 2010. Nepalese side conveyed that Government of Nepal was making all possible efforts to ensure that the work would resume at the earliest at Sapta Kosi Project area.

In order to rationalize the number of technical committees and to put in place an effective joint mechanism, a three tier mechanism comprising of

  • Joint Ministerial Level Commission on Water Resources (JMCWR) at the level of Ministers of Water Resources of India and Nepal,
  • Existing JCWR at the level of Secretaries (WR) of India and Nepal and
  • Joint Standing Technical Committee (JSTC) at the level of Chairman,

Ganga Flood Control Commission, Patna was agreed to, in the 3rd meeting of JCWR, held from 29th September 2008 to 1st October 2008 at Kathmandu (Nepal). During the 4th meeting of JCWR, Terms of Reference of JMCWR was finalized.

India-Bhutan Cooperation

A scheme titled "Comprehensive Scheme for Establishment of Hydro-meteorological and Flood Forecasting Network on rivers common to India and Bhutan" is in operation. The network consists of 35 hydro-meteorological/ meteorological stations located in Bhutan and being maintained by the Royal Government of Bhutan with funding from India. The data received from these stations are utilized in India by the Central Water Commission for formulating flood forecasts. A Joint Expert Team (JET) consisting of officials from the Government of India and Royal Government of Bhutan continuously reviews the progress and other requirements of the scheme.

The matter relating to problem of floods created by the rivers originating from Bhutan and coming to India was taken up with the Royal Government of Bhutan. A Joint Group of Experts (JGE) on Flood Management has been constituted between India and Bhutan to discuss and assess the probable causes and effects of the recurring floods and erosion in the southern foothills of Bhutan and adjoining plains in India and recommend to both Governments appropriate and mutually acceptable remedial measures.

The first meeting of JGE was held in Bhutan from 1st to 5th November 2004. The JGE had series of discussions and also made field visits to some of the affected areas, which included the sites prone to landslides, and dolomite mining areas. Based on the discussions, the JGE felt that a more detailed technical examination is required and accordingly a Joint Technical Team (JTT) under the Chairmanship of Member (PID), North Bengal Flood Control Commission has been constituted which held its first meeting in April, 2005.

JTT held its first meeting in April, 2005. The JTT studied some sources of sediment load, nature of slides and suggested further studies and preparation of maps to be taken up for deciding remedial measures to be recommended by the JTT. Preliminary report (Jan 2006) of Joint Technical Team was received in MoWR during Feb. 2006.

Further, as per the decision taken in the first meeting of JGE, a five members Indian team visited Tsatichu lake in Eastern Bhutan (which was formed due to massive landslide which occurred on the right bank of river Tsatichhu on 10th September, (2003) along with the officials of Royal Govt. of Bhutan between 18th and 23rd December 2006. During the joint visit, it was observed that the quantity of water in the lake at present is very small and the threat of flood to downstream areas, including Indian Territory is negligible, however, it was recommended that there is a need to monitor any future development like further landslide leading to blockade of outlet and the level of water in the lake should be monitored specially during monsoon.

Second meeting of JGE was held on February 26-27, 2008 in New Delhi. During the meeting, preliminary report (Jan 2006) of Joint Technical Team, report of Joint visit (Dec. 2006) by India-Bhutan Exports Team to Tsatichu Lake in Bhutan and Permission of Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) for construction of bullheads on river Manas near Mathanguri were discussed.

During the second meeting of JGE, the JTT has been reconstituted and in the modified ToR of the reconstituted JTT, some rivers/Streams flowing from Bhutan into Assam to be identified by JTT based on the field visit have also been included for studies/recommendations for remedial measures. Further, during the second meeting of JGE, it has been decided to undertake another joint visit by India and Bhutan Experts Teams to the landslide dam site in 2008.

MEA vide their letter dated 10.04.2008 have conveyed approval of the concerned authorities of RGoB for construction of the said deflectors. In pursuance of MEA letter dated 10.04.2008, the permission of RGoB has been conveyed to the Secretary, Water Resources Deptt. Govt. of Assam with a request to approach the local administration of Panbang block of Zhemgang District of Bhutan to undertake the construction of the deflectors vide MoWR letter dated 22.04.2008.

India-Bangladesh Cooperation

An Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is functioning since 1972 with a view to maintain liaison in order to ensure the most effective joint effort in maximizing the benefits from common river systems which is headed by Water Resource Ministers of both the countries. A Treaty was signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh on 12th December 1996 for the sharing of Ganga/Ganges waters. The Treaty shall remain in force for a period of thirty years to be renewable by mutual consent. A Joint Committee has been set up for implementing, joint inspections and monitoring of the sharing arrangements at Farakka in India and at Hardinge Bridge in Bangladesh for the dry season (Jan to May) every year.

The 36th meeting of the Indo-Bangladesh JRC was held at Dhaka from 19th-21st September 2005 wherein various matters pertaining to cooperation in water resources sector with Bangladesh, including Tipaimukh Dam Project, interlinking of rivers, sharing of waters of common rivers, bank protection works, flood forecasting etc. were discussed. As per the decision taken during 36th meeting of JRC, the Hon'ble Ministers of Water Resources of India and Bangladesh along with their delegations undertook visit from 14th to 21st September 2006 to the sites of river banks protections, minor lift irrigation and drinking water schemes along the concerned common/border rivers including a stretch of river Ichhamati, where river forms boundary between India and Bangladesh to assess the situation on the ground. During field visit and discussions, there was understanding between both sides and differences were narrowed down. There was also better appreciation and greater clarity on the issues involved. However, as some more technical details were required, agreement could not be reached.

The Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) recognized that the long term sharing of waters of river Feni should also be examined along with Teesta and other six common rivers already agreed to. It was reiterated that priority should be given to sharing of water of river Teesta. The JRC also recognized that lean season flow in Teasta will not meet the needs of both the counties and hence any sharing formula of the lean season flow should be based on shared sacrifice. It was decided that further discussions on the matter will be made in the next meeting of JRC which is proposed to be held in India in due course.

A new chapter in the Indo-Bangladesh relations opened up with signing of a Treaty by the Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh on 12th December 1996, on the sharing of Ganga/Ganges waters at Farakka during the lean season. As per the Treaty, the Ganges water is distributed at Farakka (which is the last control point on river Ganga in India) during lean period, from 1st January to 31st May every year on 10 daily basis in as per the formula provided in the Treaty. The validity of treaty is 30 years. Though there is provision of review of Treaty after 5 years, no party has asked for its review so far. The sharing of water as per the Treaty is monitored by a Joint Committee comprising the members of Joint River Commission from Bangladesh and India. Three meetings of the Joint Committee are held every year. The Treaty is being implemented to the satisfaction of both the countries since 1997.

India is providing the flood data of Farakka for Ganga (from 15th June to 15th October) and the Flood data of Pandu, Goal Para and Dhubri for Brahmaputra and of Silchar for Barak during monsoon period (from 15th May to 15th October) to Bangladesh for use of their flood forecasting and warning arrangements, besides the data of river Teesta, Manu, Gumti, Jaladhaka and Torsa etc. is also provided. The transmission of flood forecasting information from India during the monsoon, which is being supplied free of cost has enabled the civil and military authorities in Bangladesh to shift the population affected by flood to safer places.

India-China Cooperation

In the year 2002, the Government of India had entered into an MoU with China for provision of hydrological information on Yaluzangbu/Brahmaputra river in flood season by China to India. In accordance with the provisions contained in the MoU, the Chinese side is providing hydrological information (Water level, discharge and rainfall) in respect of three stations, namely Nugesha, Yangcun and Nuxia located on river Yaluzangbu/ Brahmaputra from 1st June to 15th October every year, which is utilized in the formulation of flood forecasts by the Central Water Commission. This MoU expired in 2007. A new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on hydrological information of the Brahmaputra/Yaluzangbu River in flood season by China to India with a validity of five years has been signed with China on 05.06.08 during the visit of Hon'ble External Affairs Minister of India to Beijing from June 4-7, 2008.

Another Memorandum of Understanding has been signed during the visit of the Chinese Premier to India in April 2005 for supply of hydrological information in respect of Sutlej (Langquin zangbu), in flood season. Chinese side is providing hydrological information in respect of their Tsada station on river Sutlej (Langquin zangbu) from the monsoon of 2007.

The Hon'ble President of the People's Republic of China, paid a state visit to the Republic of India from 20 to 23 November,2006. During the visit, it was agreed to set up an expert level mechanism to discuss interaction and co-operation on provision of flood season hydrological data, emergency management and other issues regarding trans-border rivers as agreed between them. Accordingly, the two sides have set up the Joint Expert Level Mechanism. The Expert Group from Indian side is led by the Commissioner, Ministry of Water Resources, while in China, it is led by Director, International Economic and Technical Cooperation and Exchange Center, Ministry of Water Resources, People's Republic of China.

The first meeting of the Joint Expert Level Mechanism was held on 19-21 September 2007 at Beijing, wherein the issues related to bilateral co-operation on exchange of hydrological information between the two countries were discussed. The 2nd meeting of Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) on Trans-Border Rivers was held at New Delhi from 10-12th April 2008. During the meeting, work regulations of the Expert Level Mechanism were agreed and signed by the two sides. It has been agreed that the Expert Level Mechanism shall meet once a year, alternatively in China and India.

The third meeting of Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) was held at Beijing from 21st to 25th April 2009 which helped in understanding of each other's position for smooth transmission of flood season hydrological data.

Indus Water Treaty

Under the Indus Water Treaty, 1960, India and Pakistan have created two permanent posts of Commissioner for Indus Waters, one each in India and Pakistan, who are the representatives of the respective Governments for all matters arising out of the treaty and serve as the regular channel of communication with regard to implementation of the Treaty. The two Commissioners together form the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC). The PIC holds periodical meetings and also undertakes tours of inspection to projects/works in India and Pakistan. By way of implementation of the Treaty, the PIC held its 102nd meeting, to exclusively discuss the issues raised by Pakistan on Baglihar Hydroelectric Project, at New Delhi. The Commission also held its 103rd meeting in New Delhi in which issues of initial filling of Baglihar Hydroelectric Project, Kishenganga Hydroelectric Project were also discussed. In the spirit of cooperation, three tours viz. 108th, 109th & 110th tour of Inspection were undertaken by PIC to visit Neelum Valley in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Baglihar Hydro-Electric Project (J&K) in India and Merala Headworks in Pakistan.

As a gesture of goodwill, flood data of the rivers Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Tawi is being communicated to Pakistan during the period from 01.07.09 to 10.10.09 for undertaking advance flood warning measures.

Keeping in view the national importance, in the year, 2008, the proposed Bursar Hydroelectric Project, Gyspa Hydroelectric Project, Ujh Multipurpose Project and Second Ravi-Beas Link Project besides Shahpurkandi Dam Project were included, in the list of National Projects to enable more effective utilization of the water resources potential available under the Treaty. Pursuant to this, efforts to identify suitable sites/prepare DPRs are on going.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 17-02-2011