Bangladesh and India sign boundary maps
(26 August 2011)
On 21 August, the respective Indian and Bangladeshi high commissioners began signing some of the 1,149 maps that cover the 4,156 km boundary between the neighbouring states. Each side produced half of the total maps which followed demarcation surveys. Although it is unclear if any new boundary pillars have been erected, reports suggest that the survey has identified sites where pillars would be constructed in future. There is one 6 to 7 km section of the boundary that has not been finalised in the recent survey and remains in contention.
It has been widely reported that Bangladesh and India are close to an agreement that will eliminate the many territorial enclaves in the border region of Cooch Behar. However, no deal has yet been finalised. It is reasonable to suggest that the signing of the boundary maps is intended to give them significant legal weight, pending actual demarcation and agreement on the enclaves. Opposition parties in Bangladesh have criticised the signing of boundary maps as being too rushed. Several reports suggest that a final agreement will be reached on the disputed section and the enclaves when Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visits Bangladesh in early September 2011.
Sources: 'Border dispute with B’desh may be solved during PM visit', The Statesman (India), 25 August 2011; 'BNP slams govt for hurriedly signing strip maps' The New Nation (Bangladesh), 22 August 2011; 'India, Bangladesh sign border maps' The Statesman (India), 21 August 2011.