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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Cabinet to alter bill on border pact with Bangladesh

Saubhadra Chatterji and Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 21, 2012
First Published: 23:33 IST(21/11/2012) | Last Updated: 08:57 IST(22/11/2012)

In a significant move to resolve one of the long-pending issues between India and Bangladesh, the Union cabinet on Thursday is set to clear the constitutional amendment bill on the land boundary agreement (LBA) between the two countries.

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The LBA, along with the Teesta water-sharing accord, have been the key demands of Bangladesh. The agreement is for mutual exchange of enclaves - 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India.

A protocol in this regard was signed after Prime minister Manmohan Singh held discussions with his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka in September last year. It will also benefit over 50,000 people on both sides of the border.

This is New Delhi's first ever instance that involves give and take of territories with a neighbour. The Centre's move to push the bill assumes significance as the Sheikh Hasina regime in Dhaka is facing political heat for not getting enough benefits from India despite strengthening bilateral ties.

External affairs minister Salman Khurshid will begin consultations with opposition in Parliament during the winter session, sources said.

The Centre would require the support of the BJP to pass the constitutional amendment bill. A constitutional amendment bill requires the support of at least two-third members with at least 50% MPs voting in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

So far the Trinamool-led government in Bengal stood by the pact.

But the UPA managers are also worried about any last-minute hitch, particularly after its withdrawal of support from the UPA government.


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