The Land Swap Deal With Bangladesh That Modi is Backing

Female personnel of India's Border Security Force patrol along the fencing of the India-Bangladesh international border ahead of India's Independence Day celebrations, at Dhanpur village in TripuraNEW DELHI : India has taken a move toward settling the long-simmering border dispute with Bangladesh, signaling a softer line from Prime Minister Narendra Modi than when his party, the BJP, was in opposition.
Today, a parliamentary committee urged the government to table a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for a land swap deal that Bangladesh and India have been negotiating for years. That came after a weekend speech by the  Prime Minister suggested a solution is in the offing.
A deal with Bangladesh would end decades of uncertainty nearly 50,000  people  living in about 160 enclaves on the “wrong” side of their homeland’s border.  The proposed solution would enable each side to acquire the enclaves within its borders, along with other disputed territories.
Neither country would lose any territory they currently control, said Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, head of the parliamentary committee.”It is merely regularizing the existing reality in a way that permits both countries to extend normal public services to the residents of these areas,” he told news agency Reuters.
Despite the BJP’s past objections, Mr Modi seemed to back such a deal on Sunday during a speech in Assam.
“Whatever we do, there might be a perception of a short-term loss, but ultimately Assam will gain,” said Mr Modi.The enclaves date back to ownership arrangements made centuries ago between local princes. They survived partition in 1947 and Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
Mr Modi said the deal could help curb illegal immigration from Bangladesh, a  politically volatile issue in border areas.
Mr Modi also vowed on Sunday to halt illegal immigration from Bangladesh into Assam, saying, “I will make such an arrangement that all the roads that are today helping Bangladeshis enter and destroy Assam are closed.”

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