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Delhi, Dhaka set boundary pact in motion

In a historic step towards improving ties, India and Bangladesh exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement on Saturday, promising an end to the “stateless existence” of more than 50,000 people in 162 enclaves on both sides of the border.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and his Bangladeshi counterpart, M. Shahidul Haque, signed the documents and exchanged the modalities for implementing the deal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were present. The deal, signed in 1974, entered the process of implementation after Parliament ratified it in May.

More agreements

The two countries signed 22 agreements and memorandums of understanding on economic cooperation, trade and investment, security, infrastructure development, education, science and technology, IT and culture.

Earlier, Mr. Modi, Ms. Hasina and Ms. Banerjee flagged off the Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala and the Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati bus services in a gesture of what External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup described as “Connecting lands, binding hearts”. Before official talks at the Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Modi and Ms. Hasina had a 40-minute one-on-one meeting. Ms. Hasina thanked the Indian government, people and all political parties for their support.

The ratification was “a great diplomatic success”, she said in a joint statement. She commemorated the role of Bangladesh’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Pranab Mukherjee in reaching the agreement.

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