Her GTA initiative wasn't satisfactory, can Mamata do it with Teesta treaty?

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Narendra Modi has proved to be a more successful prime minister than his predecessor Manmohan Singh at least once. He got the company of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was playing an attacking game against him till the recent past, during his recent visit to Bangladesh when the historic land boundary agreement was signed. [LBA with Bangladesh signifies 'meeting of hearts': PM Narendra Modi]

This is something which was unbelievable even a few years ago. When Manmohan Singh government had taken an initiative to break ice with Dhaka, Banerjee played a spoilsport and even refused to accompany Singh to Dhaka to settle the Teesta water-sharing treaty.


This time the Trinamool Congress chief did something different because of a changed ground reality in India's domestic politics. It was not that she willingly toed New Delhi's policy on Bangladesh but she did it because she had to serve other priorities.

Teesta pact is a more challenging task to meet

But the land deal was perhaps the easier of the two tests that India-Bangladesh relation is facing at the moment. The Teesta treaty is a more challenging task for New Delhi and Dhaka to meet and both Modi and Banerjee will have their shares to contribute to settle the issue to serve India's interests in the long run.

Balancing between New Delhi and Dhaka: Mamata has her task cut out

The West Bengal chief minister will have a tricky situation in hand. She will have to balance the interests of both he state and the country on this issue, something which will require much commitment.

For if New Delhi allows Dhaka too much of space in sharing Teesta water expecting that the latter would reciprocate in times of need, West Bengal might have to pay the price. In that case, Banerjee would have two options. Either she would continue to oppose the treaty or extract benefits from New Delhi in lieu of granting advantage to Dhaka.

Can Mamata create an opportunity for her state's development

Banerjee might have her opportunity to seek a central grant for the all-round development of North Bengal, the backward region which will be hurt more if the Teesta water-sharing treaty favours Bangladesh more. That will be a good bargaining by the Bengal chief minister vis-a-vis the state, for she is yet to succeed in getting the Centre meet her financial demands for Bengal.

Mamata's GTA initiative wasn't satisfactory for all

But can Banerjee, a temperamental leader, bring Bengal a diplomatic success from the Teesta treaty episode? It has been seen in the past that she hastily acted on settling the Gorkhaland territorial administration issue in North Bengal soon after coming to power and it is yet to ensure peace in the hills of that region.

She has given the nod for secretary-level talks and started going through the conditions of the pact again. So far so good. Can Banerjee come out with flying colours? Just as PM Modi did during his recent Bangladesh visit?

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