Modi-Hasina to sign ‘Historic’ land swap deal

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Dhaka: The historic land swap deal between India and Bangladesh is going to materialize on Saturday as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Dhaka early on the day.

New Delhi and Dhaka will exchange the instruments of ratification on the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) to settle the 41-year-old border dispute.

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The exchange ceremony will take place in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Jaishankar termed it as a historic visit because of the conclusion of the LBA.

Jaishankar said that it has generated lot of goodwill and confidence between the people and the 4,096-km-long border can now be managed better.

Meanwhile, Dhaka is decked up with big hoardings carrying his photographs of Modi besides life-size cutouts of him, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.Also, large cutouts of Gandhi and Rahman could be seen on the streets as a token of an age-old relationship between the two countries and India’s role in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

As many as 20 agreements are on the anvil covering all the aspects of the bilateral ties, including increasing trade, road-rail connectivity and measures to tackle terrorism.

Meetings with prominent opposition leaders, including Raushan Ershad and former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, are also on Modi’s itinerary.

To increase connectivity, the Kolkata and Agartala bus service via Dhaka has been flagged off. An agreement for the supply of diesel to Bangladesh will also be signed. A sub-regional connectivity pact is also on the anvil that will bring Bhutan and Nepal under its ambit. The BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) Motor Vehicle Agreement is also expected to be signed soon.

“We support Bangladesh as a democracy and we note the commitment to a pluralistic way of life. We applaud them as a very responsible neighbour with whom we have really developed great relationship of mutual sensitivity,” Jaishankar said.

The contentious Teesta water-sharing pact will not be signed during the visit but the two sides will discuss sharing of other river waters and waterways.

Apart from the road, stress is also on increasing railway connectivity. They will also sign a coastal shipping agreement to facilitate sailing of small vessels from India to ports in Bangladesh.

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