Prime Minister Singh’s Dhaka Visit

Here are some important developments from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Bangladesh:

  • Exchange of land between India and Bangladesh:

India and Bangladesh signed an agreement on the exchange of land in adverse possession and enclaves. The agreement is in the form of a Protocol to the 1974 treaty between India and Bangladesh on the demarcation of land boundary, and forms an “integral part” of the 1974 Agreement (Art. 1 of the Protocol). The full text of the Protocol is available here.

A news report notes:

India and Bangladesh inked a historic pact on Tuesday to exchange 162 enclaves, resolving a 64-year-old boundary demarcation problem.

The breakthrough was made following discussions on the 162 enclaves (51 in India and 111 in Bangladesh) between Singh and his Dhaka counterpart Sheikh Hasina. Enclaves are defined as pockets of a country’s territory surrounded by the other’s.

They have been a bone of contention between successive regimes in India and Bangladesh and were created centuries ago when local kings in undivided Bengal and Assam exchanged pieces of land while gambling or playing chess.

The Indian enclaves in Bangladesh are located in four districts – Panchagarh, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Nilphamari. All of Bangladesh’s enclaves lie in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district. The agreement enables Bangladesh to retain the Dahagram and Angarpota enclaves.

ALMOST 3,000 acres of Bangladesh’s land lies in India and India has around 3,500 acres inside Bangladesh.

The pact signed by Singh allows residents of an Indian enclave in Bangladesh to seek local citizenship once the area becomes a part of Bangladesh. Such inhabitants also have the right to return to their original country from which they will be allotted land.

  • Duty free import of 61 items from Bangladesh:

A report in The Hindu notes:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced duty-free import of 61 items from Bangladesh that were barred from entering India.

A majority of these items – 46 to be precise, relate to textiles, particularly readymade garments.

 

  • Water dispute not resolved

On the other hand, an agreement on sharing of the Teesta river water failed to materialize, apparently because of the opposition of the Chief Minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh and was to be most affected by such an agreement (report here).

 

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