Parliament approves Land Boundary Bill to settle 41-year-old border issue with Bangladesh

Narendra Modi thanked Sonia Gandhi, Opposition for their support

New Delhi: Settling the country's 41-year-old border issue with Bangladesh, Parliament on Thursday unanimously passed a historic bill to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement that provides for exchange of territories.

The Lower House, showing rare unanimity, passed the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill to allow the operationalisation of the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement.

All the 331 members present in the House voted for the bill, which became the 100th Constitutional amendment passed by Parliament.

Soon after the passage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked up to the Opposition benches to thank leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge, BJD's B Mahtab, TMC's Sudip Bandopadhyay and AIADMK leader P Venugopal.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said it was beneficial for both the countries and that there will a "notional" loss of territory without borders getting contracted.

India will get 510 acres while Bangladesh will get 10,000 acres. "But these are notional figures as these areas are deep inside territories of the two countries. Our borders are not getting contracted," she said, while responding to members' questions whether India will lose some territory.

Swaraj said the measure, apart from demarcating the boundaries, would also help checking illegal immigration.

"A solution to the problem of illegal immigration is inherent in this legislation. With the land border now being decided (with the passage of the bill), the portions where there is no fencing will also get fenced," she said.

Swaraj said the only issue, which remained to be settled with Bangladesh was that of river water-sharing, primarily relating to Teesta river. "The way in which we are now settling the land boundary issue, we will try to settle this issue also."

The maritime boundary between India and Bangladesh has also been settled last year with the award by the international tribunal.

( Source : PTI )
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