Remaining boundary in India-Bangladesh dispute still unresolved
(29 November 2016)
A meeting between Indian and Bangladeshi officials in Dhaka to resolve the dispute over a 6km stretch of the Muhuri River on the border between South Tripura (India) and Bangladesh has ended with no progress made to resolve the dispute.
As part of the implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 and its 2011 Protocol, India handed Bangladesh 111 enclaves in dispute and received 51 enclaves in return, with the formal transfer occurring on July 31, 2015. Talks over Muhurichar, however, have remained inconclusive.
An official from Tripura summarised the meeting, stating that “Indian officials told their Bangladeshi counterparts that according to the Indira-Mujib accord, which was signed on March 19, 1972 between the then Indian and Bangladeshi Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to determine various issues of the two countries, the boundary should be the mid-course of the Muhuri River. The Bangladesh officials objected to this logic, saying the course of the river has changed many times during the past 44 years [when the river was designated as the boundary between India and what was then East Pakistan]”.
The seven-member Indian delegation was led by the External Affairs Ministry's Joint Secretary for Border Management, Sripriya Ranganathan, while the twelve-member Bangladesh side was headed by the Home Ministry's Additional Secretary, Abu Hena Mohammad Rahamatul Muneem.
Officials from both sides jointly visited the disputed area and held a meeting at Majumder Haat in Bangladesh, opposite South Tripura's sub-divisional town Belonia.
It was noted that of the 63-acre Muhurichar area, India has no objection to giving some portion of land to Bangladesh after the demarcation of the areas is finalised, but they objected to the fact that the current demarcation was made without consulting the Tripura government.