Seeking to resolve their vexed boundary dispute, India and Bangladesh are likely to sign a pact soon as both the countries have completed a joint-survey along the international border and identified adversely-held enclaves.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram is expected to travel to Dhaka later this month to sign the agreement with his Bangladesh counterpart Shahara Khatun.
There are 126 Indian enclaves on the Bangladesh territory and 96 Bangladesh enclaves on Indian soil along the 4,098-km-long border between the two countries.
During the joint survey, both India and Bangladesh have identified adversely-held enclaves. India has also completed the survey at the enclaves. A similar exercise has also been done in Bangladesh.
“Since both sides agree upon areas that the other side possesses, the only task remaining would be to exchange them,” a government official said.
Both India and Bangladesh are now trying to overcome the “difference of opinion” on patches located in Meghalaya, which is hardly 20 per cent of the total areas under dispute. There are 11 such areas in Meghalaya.
“We hope to resolve the dispute in Meghalaya as soon as possible. Once the problem on the ground is resolved, the Home Minister may undertake the visit to Dhaka to carry forward the process into its logical conclusion,” the official said.
The new pact will cover all outstanding border issues in line with the Land Boundary Agreement, 1974.
In 1974, both India and Bangladesh had agreed to exchange the enclaves or at least provide easy access to the enclaves, but since then little has materialised.
Talks between the two countries on the issue resumed in 2001 but lack of a concrete time frame has relegated the issue to the back burner.
Residents of the enclaves of both the countries had been complaining of lack of facilities for a long time.
The government has taken various developmental measures to solve problems that the residents face like lack of water, roads, electricity, schools, medicines and also crime.
“When the agreement will be signed, all these issues will be resolved once for all,” the official said.