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India-Bangla border dispute to be resolved within 2011

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, April 23, IRNA -- Seeking to resolve their vexed boundary dispute, India and Bangladesh have completed joint survey along the international border in 80 per cent areas.

As a first step, both India and Bangladesh have started identifying adversely-held enclaves which is expected to be completed within a month.

There are around 130 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 95 Bangladeshi enclaves within Indian territory along the 4,098-km-long border between the two countries.

Before, the identification of the enclaves, India will complete the head count at the adversely held enclaves by May 15. A similar exercise is also undergoing in Bangladesh.

'Once both sides agree upon areas that the other side possesses, the only task remaining would be to exchange them,' pti reported quoting a government official as said.

The key challenge remaining now for both the countries is overcoming 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,' the official said.

Once the problem on the ground is resolved, Home Minister P Chidambaram may undertake a visit to Dhaka to carry forward the process into its logical conclusion.

Either Chidambaram or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also expected to visit the neighbouring country by year-end, will sign the agreements with the Bangladeshi counterpart.

The pact will cover all outstanding border issues in line with the Land Boundary Agreement, 1974.

The fresh initiative has been taken following an agreement at the Home Secretary-level talks between India and Bangladesh held in Dhaka early this year.

Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai and his Bangladeshi counterpart Abdus Sobhan Sikdar had agreed to initiate steps to resolve the common border dispute.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30351707

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