Boundary settlement

Land Boundary Issue timeline:

  • Facts:
      • India and Bangladesh have a common land boundary of approximately 4,096.7 km.
      • The India-East Pakistan land boundary was determined as per the Radcliffe Award of 1947.
  • Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) of 1974: It was an agreement signed on May 16, 1974, soon after the independence of Bangladesh, to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. While Bangladesh ratified the agreement, India didn’t as it involved seceding territory and indicating these precise areas on the ground.
  • In September 2011, India and Bangladesh signed a protocol on border demarcation and exchange of adversely held enclaves.
  • 100th Amendment to the Indian constitution (Amendment of First Schedule to Constitution): Exchange of certain enclave territories with Bangladesh and conferment of citizenship rights to residents of enclaves’ 100th Amendment Act paves the way for the operationalization of the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement.
  • Under the Agreement (LBA), 111 border enclaves will be transferred to Bangladesh in exchange for 51 that will become part of India.
Despite resolving the land boundary issue between them, India and Bangladesh still have few more contentious issues to resolve between them. What are these issues? Critically analyse. (200 Words)
India and Bangladesh recently resolved the land boundary issue through ratification of Land Boundary Agreement. But there are still some contentious issues that needs to be resolved
  1. Teesta Water Treaty- Teesta is a river originating from Sikkim and then enters Bangladesh via West Bengal. The drafted agreement of 2013 says that two countries to share 50-50% water. But West Bengal government is not willing to accept this agreement, stating that during dry season the water flow of the river drops and leads to problem of irrigation in the State. The government needs to resolve this issue through negotiations involving all the major players.
  2. Illegal Immigration- Illegal immigration has been a long standing dispute among both the governments. There are around 20-30 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who possess a threat to locals in Assam, West Bengal and other region. The issue of human trafficking and smuggling across the border needs to be checked.
  3. Transit Rights – While India wants transit rights through Bangladesh to better develop its North Eastern part, Bangladesh is wary of any such request as infringement of its sovereignty.
  4. Security Concerns – Bangladesh has also served as the base of a large number of terror groups, especially active in North East Indian insurgencies. While the current government has done a lot to curb the use of its territory, more needs to be done.
  5. Tipaimukh Hydro-Electric Power Project on the Barak river on the eastern edge of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has objected to this project and India has assured Bangladesh that we will not take this forward in current form. India also assured Bangladesh that no unilateral decision on the Himalayan component of their river-interlinking project which may affect Bangladesh will be taken.
India’s development cannot be complete and sustainable unless we succeed in building productive partnerships with our immediate neighbours. India should, therefore, devote its energy to work more closely with neighbours in pursuit of its development goals.
What are the salient features of India Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA)? How will this agreement affect relationship between India and Bangladesh? Examine. (200 Words)
Features of the bill:
  1. The swap will involve handing over 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh (in return for 7,000 acres in 51 enclaves in Bangladesh) in 111 enclaves in WB, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, and was decided under the 1974 LBA
  2. It gives the people residing in the Bangladeshi enclaves, their rightful citizenry rights (under Indian Citizenship Act of 1956)
Effect of agreement:
  1. It will help in increasing the goodwill image of India among the Bangladesh population
  2. Awami league led by Sheikh hasina is a pro-india party. It will also gain more foothold in the country, which is beneficial for India in the long run
  3. It will help in ascertaining the border line and increase the security of NE region and put rest to the increased illegal immigration.
  4. As India has boundary disputes with majority of its neighbours, this will be a huge step in resolving one of the long standing disputes.
  5. Will pave way for clearing the Teesta water sharing accord as the next step
  6. Populations will now have access to the development, job opportunities, laws or rights of either the country to which they belong or the one that surrounds them.
  7. Provide law and order and security on border areas.
  8. Improving its relation with Bangladesh to make it all weather partner for support in forum like BIMSTEC, RIM, SAARC etc
In the present scenario of increasing influence of China in the south east Asia and beyond, India desperately needs more friends in its neighbourhood, for which LBA is a crucial step



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