Bangladesh, India sign agreement to swap border enclaves

06 Jun, 2015 5:09 pm

DHAKA – Bangladesh and India sealed an agreement simplifying their 4,000km (2,500-mile) border at the weekend, over four decades after the neighbors first tried to untangle complex territorial rights set down in 1713.

The agreement will be one of several finalised during two-day visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

Under the agreement, Bangladesh will get 111 enclaves, while 51 enclaves will be given to India.

Their inhabitants – about 37,330 in Indian enclaves and 14,200 in Bangladeshi enclaves – are deprived of public services because their governments have no access to them.

Under the agreement, each country will take over most of the enclaves on its territory and inhabitants will have the right to stay where they are or move to the other side of the border.

In 1974, the then leaders of the two countries – Indira Gandhi of India and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh – agreed to swap almost 200 enclaves of land located in one country but officially belonging to the other.

“But with the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (in 1975), along with the almost all the members of his family, the process of the agreement stopped for a long time,” Dhaka’s Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali told journalists.

Both countries signed agreements worth Rs 5.5 billion to produce up to 4,600 megawatts of electricity to ease the country’s prolonged power crisis.

Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina Wajid also inaugurated Kolkata-Dhaka Bus Service. –Reuters

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