Tensions growing along disputed areas of Bangladesh-India boundary; talks planned for November
(11 October 2010)
The construction of a road within Bangladesh territory by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has led to growing tension in the border areas of the Sylhet frontier within the northeast of the country. The road is reported to encroach 150 meters in to Bangladesh, and is located along boundary pillars 1270-1271, close to Pratappur. The Border Guards Bangladesh (BDR; previously known as the Bangladesh Rifles) have protested the construction activities of the Indian authorities since 1 October 2010. Meanwhile the BSF has claimed it is merely repairing an existing road. Previous efforts to conduct a survey through a joint commission of the BSF and BDR have failed to eventuate. Residents of the region have stated concerns over the possibility of border clashes due to disputes over such issues as the recent roadway construction.
The Mujib-Indira Land Boundary Agreement of 1974, which concerned 15 sectors of the border that were yet to be demarcated, was also developed to exchange the territorial enclaves of Indian land in Bangladesh, and Bangladeshi land in India. While the agreement was ratified by Bangladesh, it has yet to be ratified by India. Currently India has 3500 acres of land and 111 enclaves located within Bangladesh, while Bangladesh has approximately 3000 acres within 51 enclaves located in India. A Joint Boundary Working Group meeting has been proposed in Delhi for 10-11 November 2010 to resume talks, after a four year hiatus, particularly regarding the 6.5 kilometres of un-demarcated boundary and the numerous enclaves of land possessed by the respective countries. There are also plans to discuss the placing of boundary pillars along another approximately 35.5 kilometre section of the border, including who would bear the cost of this activity.
Source: ‘Border tense as Indian border guards build road inside Bangladesh’, BBC Monitoring South Asia, 10 October 2010; ‘Bangladesh, India to hold talks 10-11 Nov to resolve border dispute’, BBC Monitoring South Asia, 10 October 2010