Monday, December 1, 2014

Modi's Land Swap-Swaroop


Modi's Land Swap-Swaroop Nod to Bangla land border pact ...
13 hours ago - Modi's Land Swap-Swaroop Nod to Bangla land border pact, Trinamool on board TNN | Dec 2, 2014, 01.15 AM IST in Share Comments More A A READ MORE ...

Nod to Bangla land border pact, Trinamool on board

Nod to Bangla land border pact, Trinamool on board
Trinamool Congress chief and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
NEW DELHI: A parliamentary standing committee on external affairs has given its nod to the ratification of a land boundary agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh, paving the way for New Delhi and Dhaka to conclude their biggest pact so far.

BJP, which as the main opposition had stoutly opposed the bill during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, has now revised its stand on the agreement. On Sunday, PM Narendra Modi had declared in Assam that his government would ratify the LBA because it would help curb illegal migration.

Trinamool Congress chief and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had also proved to be a stumbling block when the UPA II government was closing in on the pact. But this time, Trinamool MP Sugata Bose, a member of the standing committee, has recommended transfer of enclaves and sealing of the deal.

The panel's report, tabled on Monday, had no dissent note from Trinamool and party sources said Bose was able to convince Mamata on agreeing to the deal. On a visit to Delhi just before Parliament opened for the winter session, Mamata had said her party had, in principle, agreed to the LBA but was keen to ensure that rehabilitation package for the people on the Indian side was worked out in consensus with the state government. That is reflected in the report.

The government is now expected to bring a bill to amend the Constitution to make the necessary changes on India's official boundaries with Bangladesh. The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 is aimed at ratifying the LBA under the Indira-Mujib pact of 1974 to exchange areas and people on either side of the border.

READ ALSO: Govt to table bill for border deal with Dhaka in winter session

Shashi Tharoor, who heads the committee, said the decision was unanimous. Sounding confident that the bill would sail through Parliament, he said, "It's important to understand that we are not losing any territory, because we don't actually have access to the enclaves inside Bangladesh. We are merely regularizing the reality on the ground."

In its report presented to Lok Sabha, the panel said coming into force of the pact may result in a "modest" demographic change in bordering areas. It observed that the security dimension due to influx of population should be considered seriously by the government. "Not only would some Indian citizens return to the mainland from previously held enclaves but a number of currently Bangladeshi nationals would also be given Indian citizenship after the area is ceded to India," it said.

The passage of the amendment will give India an unprecedented advantage of a secure boundary and be able to curb illegal migration, smuggling and other criminal activities. India's map will be redrawn as it will get 2777 acres of land and transfer 2267 acres to Bangladesh as a result of adjustment of adverse possessions, while 111 enclaves will go to Bangladesh and 51 enclaves to India. Officials said, "The exchange is notional. The exchange of enclaves will legalize a situation which already exists. The exchange of adverse possessions confirms that each country will legally possess the territories it's already holding."

READ ALSO: Sushma Swaraj hold talks with Bangladesh counterpart, meets Sheikh Hasina

The UPA government tried in vain to bring BJP and AGP on board, which even prevented then external affairs minister Salman Khurshid from tabling the bill in the first place. But local BJP units had signaled their concurrence to the agreement. The Cooch Behar unit of BJP made several representations to the Centre - all 51 of Bangladesh's enclaves lie in this district. The enclaves are located so deep inside each other's territories that neither country has physical access.

The report said it believed the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill 2013 is in "overall national interest as it would pave the way for broader bilateral ties with one of India's closest neighbours". It said delay in passage of the bill has needlessly contributed to the perpetuation of a huge humanitarian crisis.

The LBA was signed on May 16, 1974 soon after the independence of Bangladesh to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. The pact was ratified by Bangladesh government in 1974. Though the Cabinet had granted approval in 1974, the pact was not ratified by India as it involved cession of territory.

Recent Messages (12)

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Sid Harth
Siddharth Varadarajan, former editor of Hindu has penned the best analysis on this India-Bangladesh land-swap-trap. Since there is no need for me to cite that article, as I see that BJP barking dogs are out with full force, I shall summarize his thoughts. Arun Jaitley, claims to be a lawyer, I doubt if he ever passed a tenth-grade level certificate. Smriti Irani, HRD minister did it in her, I hope, first try. Jatley is on record opposing the pact in discussion. Cession, being the term used. According to the Indian constitution, the original-fresh-from-the-foundry type, has defined what a land-mass, that has been granted a freedom from British Raj, say X square miles from---top to the bottom and from the farthest point from the East to the West. The logic being that British empire had all sorts of other land-masses, governed from New Delhi. Burma and Sri Lanka. To my educated study, British also managed Egypt and Iraq from Delhi. The issue here is not to pay too much attention to Jaitley;s foolish argument. Thank God, Modi trusts Jaitley as much as he trusts, Rajnath Singh on critical issues. Way to go, Modiji. Today he is a former 'chaiwallah-cum-vikaas-purushwallah.' Tomorrow, perhaps, an emperor of Akhand Bharat, that includes Burma, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, if not Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Palestine. Jai Ho@ Bunch of idiots! ...and I am Sid Harth
Appa Durai 43221

It was long due. Done at least now
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Sid Harth
India's failure to deliver on either the LBA or the Teesta Water Agreement of 2011 was a major source of embarrassment for the Awami League government in Bangladesh, which had opened the doors to security cooperation with New Delhi. Jettisoning the 'Jaitley line' on the land boundary agreement will allow Modi to raise India-Bangladesh ties to a new level. But for this to happen, he must also be prepared to deliver on the Teesta agreement and, in general, be willing to accommodate Dhaka's legitimate concerns as a lower riparian. Indeed, the Modi government should try and establish a water-sharing culture between India and Bangladesh that is a model for how upper and lower riparians should behave. Once the two countries are on the same bilateral page on river waters, they would be in a stronger position to insist that China -- whose dam construction plans in the upper stretches of the Brahmaputra/Yarlung Tsangpo are causing much anxiety in both Dhaka and Delhi - not act unilaterally to interrupt or modify a flow that both countries depend on for their own survival. There is, of course, one more shift Modi will have to effect if he truly wants to chart a new course with Bangladesh: he and the BJP must drop their poisonous, sharp-edged rhetoric about undocumented Bangladeshi migrants. Instead, he should try and evolve out-of-the-box solutions to the demand for Bangladeshi labour within India. The key policy goal has to be to find ways to regulate and channelize the influx of migrant labour rather than demonizing migrants as "infiltrators" and then letting their presence remain unregulated. Regulating migration means according it a legal status but it also means a migrant no longer needs to acquire the trappings of Indian citizenship (eg. a ration card, aadhaar number or even a voter card) in order to live and work legally in India. Migration is a fact of life, especially in this globalized world of ours. Many Indians work in Bangladesh and the amount they repatriate adds up to nearly two-thirds the amount that Bangladeshis legally repatriate from India to their home. Lopsided growth has seen large-scale labour migration within India, creating temporary or sectoral shortages in some low-wage parts of the country that Bangladeshi migrants are increasingly filling. Any policy that decriminalizes or at least regulates migrant labour will automatically reduce the social tension that migration can sometimes cause. Prime Minister Modi has done well to take a step in the direction of settling India's long and complicated boundary with Bangladesh. He must now turn his attention to finding a sensible solution to the movement of water and people across it. Source: NDTV ...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
Modi Dumps Jaitley's Earlier Argument Siddharth Varadarajan ALSO READ Eat With Arvind Kejriwal For Rs. 20,000 - Ashutosh Mani-Talk: We Need to Talk With Pakistan. Urgently. - Mani Shankar Aiyar Dear PM, Save Our Colleges From Communal Agendas - Rana Ayyub (Siddharth Varadarajan is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Shiv Nadar University) By making a U-turn and publicly declaring his intention to fully implement the crucial Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally laid to rest apprehensions that the Bharatiya Janata Party would allow narrow political posturing to come in the way of India's national interests. These apprehensions were not imaginary. In December 2013, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, now Modi's Finance and Information & Broadcasting Minister, went out of his way to oppose implementation of the LBA, which involves the swapping of 162 small bits of territory between India and Bangladesh - so-called "adversely-held enclaves" - so that the process of border demarcation could be completed. In a letter to the Secretary of the Rajya Sabha declaring his opposition to the tabling of the necessary legislation, Jaitley made an outrageous claim: that the proposed exchange of territory would "violate the basic structure of the Constitution". "My opposition", he wrote, "is based on the ground that post-1973 when the basic structure doctrine was introduced by the Supreme Court, the territory of India is an inherent part of the basic structure of the Constitution. Territory of India is a part of the Constitution. It cannot be reduced or altered by an amendment to the Constitution." Thanks to this BJP stand and the UPA government's lack of political confidence in defending an agreement it had signed with Bangladesh in 2011 during Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka, the proposed 119th Amendment to the Constitution bill was never passed. But Modi's statements in Assam on Sunday suggest his government will now fully back the bill's passage. He urged the people of Assam not to have apprehensions about any loss of territory, reminding them that India would strengthen itself through the process of reaching an agreement with an important neighbour.

Source: TOI

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