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Sunday, June 7, 2015, Jaishtha 24, 1422 BS, Shaban 19, 1436 Hijr

Delhi, Dhaka exchange LBA documents
Diplomatic Correspondent
Published : Sunday, 7 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 17
Bangladesh and India on Saturday signed and exchanged the protocol for exchange of instruments of the ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in Dhaka.
The historic instruments of ratification on LBA would resolve the long-pending issue between the two neighbours.
Visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina witnessed the event at Shapla, PMO.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and Indian External Affairs Ministry Secretary Dr S Jaishankar exchanged the documents on behalf of their respective countries.
"History is made as the instruments of ratification of LBA  are exchanged," Modi tweeted minutes after the exchange of the protocol.
The Secretaries also exchanged original instruments of ratification signed by the Bangladesh Prime Minister and the Indian President and letter of modalities for implementation of the LBA of 1974 and the protocol of 2011.
Now that the agreement and protocol would soon be implemented and Bangladesh expects that the quality of life of some 51,000 enclave people would be significantly improved.
All the inhabitants of the 162 enclaves can now look forward to having national identity and enjoying the same benefits and services as others living outside the enclaves.
Soon after independence, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman undertook the initiative to permanently settle the border issues peacefully. As a result, the LBA was signed in 1974 between Bangabandhu and Indira Gandhi.
The Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad gave effect to the agreement by amending certain provisions of the Bangladesh Constitution through the Third Constitutional Amendment of 1974. In 2011, a protocol was signed to further streamline the issues relating to implementation of demarcation.
The unanimous adoption of the bill in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is a manifestation of goodwill and love of the people of India for the people of Bangladesh, according to a Foreign Ministry statement in Dhaka.
Bangladesh was deeply touched by the sentiments expressed by some of the parliamentarians who became emotional while expressing their support for the bill and reminiscing their association with the 1971 War of Liberation.
At the time of partition in 1947, drawing of the boundary  created a humanitarian crisis. The issue of enclaves resulted in serious administrative complications.
The people living in enclaves practically could not enjoy the fruits of independence. Till date, they remain deprived of the full legal rights as citizens of either country and do not have full access to basic amenities.
They are living a miserable life as practically stateless persons. With the ratification of LBA, both countries would now be able to free the inhabitants of enclaves from poverty and deprivation and give them what they deserve as citizens of either country.
Resolution of the land boundary issue will also have positive impacts on some other related areas such as border management. 
Both countries are now formulating a work plan to deal with various issues such as change of citizenship of the people living in the enclaves, their rehabilitation, ownership of land, acceptability of documents, voter registration, civic facilities, infrastructural development and so on.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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