Mar 082013
 

India-Bangladesh-enclaves

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday appealed to all political parties of the country to show “wisdom” to endorse land accord with Bangladesh, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament during the current session.

“As a means of promoting ties between the two countries, this House and the other House would have the wisdom to endorse the land border agreement that I signed in Bangladesh,” Singh said in Rajya Sabha while replying to Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address.

Singh’s appeal came at a time when BJP is opposed to the land swap agreement saying it would compromise country’s territorial integrity.

Referring to the recent visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Bangladesh, Singh said it was deeply appreciated by the people and government of that country.

“I hope the political parties will show the same wisdom in passing the Land Boundary Agreement Bill that I propose to bring in Parliament,” the Prime Minister said.

He said this agreement would ensure peace and tranquility along the borders with Bangladesh and peace and order in both the countries.

The Constitution Amendment Bill, cleared by the Cabinet last month, is likely to be tabled in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament.

The Bill, which will replace India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement, 1974, involves exchange of 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves on Indian soil.

Bangladesh has already ratified the pact. Indian enclaves in Bangladesh are spread over 17,149 acres, while Bangladesh enclaves in India are located in 7,110 acres of land.

Additional protocols for 1974 Land Boundary Agreement, signed during Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September 2011, require a constitutional amendment.

Bdnews24.com adds: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed to all political parties to support the Constitution Amendment Bill, which his government is likely to introduce in Parliament soon in order to ratify New Delhi’s 1974 Land Boundary Agreement with Dhaka and its additional protocol signed in 2011.

Singh expressed hope that all political parties “would have the wisdom to endorse” the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement, including its additional protocol signed during his visit to Dhaka in September 2011.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the Rajya Sabha – the Upper House of Indian Parliament – on Friday.

The Indian government on Feb 13 last approved the proposed Constitution Amendment Bill required to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement and its additional protocol. The Bill is now set to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing Budget Session.

“As a means of promoting ties between the two countries, this House and the other House (Lok Sabha – the Lower House of Indian Parliament) would have the wisdom to endorse the land border agreement,” Singh told the Rajya Sabha, while replying to a debate on a Motion of Thanks to President Pranab Mukherjee for his address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

Singh said Mukherjee’s recent visit to Dhaka was deeply appreciated by the people and Government of Bangladesh.

“I hope the political parties will show the same wisdom in passing the Land Boundary Agreement Bill that I propose to bring in Parliament,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the agreement was intended to ensure peace and tranquility along the India-Bangladesh borders.

Though the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government in New Delhi does not have enough numbers in both the Houses of Parliament to ensure a smooth passage of the Bill, it is still preparing to introduce it, apparently to reassure the Bangladesh government of its commitment to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement and the protocol.

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has been meeting leaders of all political parties over the past few months seeking support for the Bill to ratify the Land Boundary Agreement.

Singh’s government needs at least two-thirds majority in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to get the Constitutional Amendment Bill passed. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is also likely to oppose the Bill as it had joined the regional party Asom Gana Parishad in Assam to protest against the protocol that New Delhi and Dhaka inked to resolve long-standing boundary disputes, by swapping 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh with 51 Bangladesh enclaves in India and preserve status quo on the adversely possessed swathes of land.

To ratify the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement along with the protocol signed, the Indian government needs to amend the Constitution.

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