According to a note prepared by the Ministries of Power, Water Resources and External Affairs, the Ganga Basin has tremendous potential for development of water resources and hydropower.

In a significant development indicating a sub-regional strategic alliance, Nepal, India and Bangladesh (NIB) have decided to join hands to cooperate and exploit the hydropower sector and use water resources management for mutual advantage, including jointly developing and financing projects in the Ganga river basin.

Indicating its seriousness to give a boost to this initiative, India has already approved the composition of a working group on water and power that will coordinate with Bangladesh and Nepal.

According to a note prepared by the Ministries of Power, Water Resources and External Affairs, the Ganga Basin has tremendous potential for development of water resources and hydropower. Therefore, the role of the Ganga in the agriculture, hydro-power, fisheries, navigation, and environmental sectors and in the economy of the co-basin countries is vital. The joint initiative will contribute to poverty eradication and better socio-economic integration.

Highest decision-making body

The note states that the NIB initiative will explore technically and geographically feasible means for augmentation and equitable distribution of augmented supply of water and power. There shall be a Committee of Water Resources and Power Ministries of the NIB which will be the highest decision-making body, subject to the approval of the respective governments. The Ministers for Water Resources or Irrigation shall be co-chair, while the Ministers responsible for Power shall be co-vice chair. The NIB Committee will be supported by a Technical Advisory Committee comprising the Secretaries of Water Resources or Irrigation, Power or Electricity and at least two technical experts representing water sources and power and one representative from the MEA of each of the three countries.

Similarly, in order to derive optimum benefits from the Brahmaputra Basin, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh have agreed to work jointly towards cooperative development and management of water resources and hydropower in an integrated and holistic manner. For this, the three countries have agreed to cooperate on the Bhutan, Bangladesh and India (BIB) Initiative.

Sub-regional cooperation

“The basic aim of these initiatives is to implement programmes in partnership with member-states that will contribute to strengthening the cooperation mechanism and to long-term sustainable development, economic growth and sub-regional cooperation,” a senior Power Ministry official said.