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The Big Picture – Land Swap with Bangladesh: Will it check illegal migration?

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The Indo Bangladesh border issue has been festering for years, in fact, ever since the country was carved out of Pak in 1971.

The two countries share a 4096 border along Assam, West Bengal, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

In 2011, India and Bangladesh signed an agreement to exchange enclaves on both sides and thereby demarcate the border.

If the Bill, regarding the issue, is passed could lead to the fencing of the border.

It is felt that unless the demarcation takes place the problem of illegal migrants cannot be resolved.

Assam shares 263 KM of border with Bangladesh.

Even in Bangladesh, the issue has gained Political importance.

Land swapping will be done for a permanent solution to the problem of infiltration.

The swap will involve handing over 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh in return for 7,000 acres in 111 enclaves in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, and was first decided under the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh, but never ratified by Parliament.

It will require an amendment to the Constitution (the 119th amendment) ratified by both Houses of Parliament with a two-thirds majority.

The deal relates to demarcation of boundary under the Land Boundary Agreement between the two countries. India and Bangladesh have been negotiating the land swap for years to resolve a long-running border conflict.

The number of people to be involved in the whole swap is approximately 52,000, of which about 15,000 are on the Indian side of the border.

Under this intended agreement, the enclave residents could continue to reside at their present location or move to the country of their choice.

A number of Indian nationals living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory are going to be adversely affected as they would lose their claim to Indian citizenship.

Some people have been opposing the deal on the ground that Assam will stand to lose more territory as compared to Bangladesh in the exchange of enclaves.

The agreement will definitely rationalise the border and to that extent strengthen our International boundary arrangement. But it is unlikely to stop the illegal migration completely.

Illegal migration is being majorly carried out through riverine border.

There are already 2 Crore Bangladeshis in India. Even this problem needs to be solved. It is even difficult now to identify them.

More demand for labours is creating a Demographic Change in the NE states.

For India to become an important player in the world, it is equally important to maintain good relationship with its neighbours.

Poverty has forced Bangladeshis to come to India in search of work.