Govt hopes to solve border dispute with B'desh during PM visit

Home Minister P Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha that illegal immigration from Bangladesh is a problem and the government was taking steps to curb it.

"Issues related to land boundary between India and Bangladesh, including un-demarcated stretches on 6.1 km and exchange of enclaves are being negotiated...there is a good possibility that these matters will be resolved when Prime Minister visits Bangladesh," he said during Question Hour.

On long-standing frontier discords between both the nations and infiltration, Chidambaram said it is not correct to link the un-demarcated border with influx from Bangladesh.

"As far as illegal immigration from Bangladesh is concerned, it is a problem. A large number of people come on visa...a small number illegally immigrate...we apprehend them," he said adding 453 immigrants were apprehended this year up to July.

On measures to check illegal immigration, he said the number of border out posts has been increased and added that the problem of influx is a complex one as people on either side of the border share same racial features and languages.

To a question on long pending land boundary issue, he said, "Both sides have agreed to work constructively towards resolving differences to demarcate the land boundary, jointly take steps necessary to facilitate the process of exchange of enclaves and to access the areas of adverse possession."

The maritime boundary dispute between India and Bangladesh is pending arbitration before international tribunal, he said.

Chidambaram said 51 Bangladesh enclaves have been identified inside India while India has 111 in Bangladesh and 51,590 people there have been given staying option after 1974 Land Boundary Agreement.

The enclaves, or areas land-locked by territories belonging to the other side, has been an unresolved border issue between the two countries since partition.

To a supplementary as to whether the government was adopting separate yardsticks by doing fencing at 150 yards with Bangladesh as compared to zero yards with China and thereby losing land, Chidambaram said it was wrong to say so.

"There are no different standards," he said, adding that fencing in such a manner was mutually agreed.

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