China to Build Bridge, Conduct River Management on River in Bangladesh that Has Been Source of Water Rights Dispute with India

On June 22, state-owned firms, China Construction 7th Engineering Bureau and China Construction International, were awarded a $44 million contract (in an all cash exchange) for construction of a bridge project across the Teesta River in Bangladesh (including unspecified river management projects), situated in the northwestern part of the country.

The Teesta River, which flows through both, India and Bangladesh, has been at the center of water resource disputes between the two countries.  It remains one of the points of contention in their bilateral relationship. Although China is not a direct beneficiary of the river’s resources, Chinese influence is alleged to be a contributing factor to the troublesome river resource politics with Bangladesh. The source of the Teesta River on the Indian side is Tso Lamo lake, which sits just 4 km from one of India’s borders with China that has been prone to dispute.

Construction will comprise of a 1.49 km main bridge, 2 km of approach roads, and 6.3 km of river management projects along the Teesta River.  Once the bridge is completed, it is expected to reduce commuting distanced between two major highways on opposite sides of the river by 80 km, and thus boost the local economy.