GUWAHATI, May 6 � Lack of numbers in the Rajya Sabha may not be the only reason for the BJP-led Central government�s decision to go ahead with the land swap deal with Bangladesh without leaving aside the Assam part as announced earlier. Despite opposition from different political parties and organisations, the government has decided to go ahead with the land swap deal, which will result in exchange of areas and enclaves under adverse possession of the two countries.
Highly placed official sources in New Delhi told The Assam Tribune that the government is interested in a permanent solution to the boundary disputes between India and Bangladesh and ratification of the land border protocol signed between the two countries in 2011 is likely to bring about a permanent settlement. However, sources admitted that the government also did not have the majority in the Rajya Sabha to pass the Bill leaving aside the Assam part as the Congress was opposed to the idea.
Sources pointed out that modification of the land border protocol signed in 2011 to leave the Assam portion out of the same would have led to serious complications. Firstly, there is every possibility of Bangladesh not accepting changes in the protocol signed between the two countries. Moreover, leaving one portion would mean keeping the disputes alive as it is not possible to find a permanent solution to the disputes by leaving aside one portion.
Official sources said border disputes have been going on since the partition of the country and over the years, repeated efforts to find a permanent solution to the problems failed to yield the desired results. Sources said that two agreements were signed on border disputes, the first during the time of the erstwhile East Pakistan and the second after the creation of Bangladesh. The first agreement was signed during the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister in 1958 and the second one was signed in 1974. But the agreements failed to bring about a permanent solution of the disputes. Now the government is keen on finding a permanent solution to the disputes.
Sources also pointed out that this is the best possible time to settle the disputes as the disputed areas witnessed incidents of violence in the past and there is no guarantee that there would not be fresh trouble in those areas if a government, which is not too friendly with India, assumes office in the neighbouring country. Moreover, the entire land border with Bangladesh can be fenced after settlement of the disputes, sources added.