Swaraj to discuss boundary issues in B'desh

Last Updated 25 June 2014, 20:15 IST

In a major shift in the BJP’s stand, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will indicate to Bangladesh the government’s willingness to revive the Land Boundary Agreement Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Swaraj, who arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday, is expected to assure the Bangladeshi top leadership that efforts will be made to get the bill passed in the Budget session, beginning from July 7.

The controversial bill proposes to redraw the international boundary between India and Bangladesh through an exchange of enclaves.

Other than that, Swaraj is expected to convince Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the need to allow 35,000 tonnes of grain to be transported every month from Chittagong sea port so that essential items reach Tripura quickly, said highly placed government sources.

Talk with Mamata

Swaraj spoke to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee before departing for the two-day tour of Dhaka.

It is being speculated in the government that she may have broached the issue of enclaves knowing Banerjee’s staunch opposition to the exchange.

The country, according to the bill, will hand over 111 enclaves to Bangladesh and, in return, receive 51 of them.

The government is hopeful of getting support from the Congress in the Rajya Sabha for passage of the pending bill. In the Lok Sabha, it can push the bill on its own strength.

The latest move, forced by diplomatic compulsions, represents the dilution in the BJP’s stand as it had earlier opposed the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) (Constitutional Amendment) Bill introduced by the United Progressive Alliance on the last day of the winter session.

According to a Kolkata report, Swaraj also took Banerjee’s views on the Teesta water sharing treaty before her talks with Bangladeshi leaders.

Despite being an ally of the Congress, in 2011, the chief minister had not supported then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Bangladesh in protest against the treaty, which was subsequently shelved.

(Published 25 June 2014, 20:15 IST)

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