इंडियन आवाज़     05 Dec 2023 11:03:39      انڈین آواز

Rajya Sabha passes bill to swap territories with Bangladesh


IN A RARE GESTURE OF magnanimity the Rajya Sabha today unanimously passed a historic bill to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh that provides for exchange of territories to settle the 41-year border issue.
Yesterday the Constitution 119th Amendment Bill on land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh was approved at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Constitution (119th) Amendment Bill, which will allow the operationalisation of the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement, was passed with full support from 181 members.

The bill will be taken up by Lok Sabha tomorrow.

“This is an historic situation. We are going to implement the agreement after 41 years. I am happy that everyone supported the bill,” said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj while moving the bill for passage.

Contending that the Agreement will benefit both countries, she said the Union Home Ministry will be the nodal ministry for implementing it.

“We are aware of the complexities involved in implementation of the agreement. The earlier we implement (the agreement), sooner we reap the benefits,” she said.

The bill aims at giving effect to the acquiring of territories by India and transfer of territories to Bangladesh through retaining of adverse possession and exchange of enclaves in pursuance of the agreement of 1974.

The territories in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya come under the ambit of the bill.

The same Bill that was introduced by the then UPA government in the Parliament. The Bill was placed in the Rajya Sabha in 2013 and subsequently referred to a select committee, headed by Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, which unanimously recommended implementation of the deal.

Modi government, with an eye on the Assembly election in Assam next year, had decided to de-link Assam from the deal. Subsequently, following stiff opposition from the Congress party it decided to reverse its decision to drop Assam from the LBA.

Under the pact, India and Bangladesh will exchange several enclaves which are under each other’s adverse possession. The agreement will have to be ratified by the Parliament through a Constitution Amendment Bill.

BJP central leaders conveyed to the State leaders that the NDA government was forced to reverse its decision to keep out Assam from the LBA because it did not have the numbers in Rajya Sabha and the Congress party had refused to dilute its opposition to the NDA’s revised Bill.

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