Dr Amit Ranjan, Research Fellow at the Indian Council of World Affairs in New Delhi, comments on the recent border accord between India and Bangladesh, and asks whether it could be a model for solving other boundary disputes between India and China, and India and Pakistan.
With the forthcoming implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) protocol in 2015, India and Bangladesh will legally resolve their decades-old border dispute. Under the Agreement India has agreed to transfer 2267.682 acres to Bangladesh while the latter will transfer 2777.038 acres of land to India. This includes the exchange of 162 enclaves between them. Though this agreement is facing opposition from a few groups in Assam and Meghalaya, it is not strong enough to disrupt the land-swapping process or to create a strong political backlash against the present political establishment.
Although the LBA has not been able to solve ancillary issues such as the movement of peoples – a problem which is likely to remain an irritant – it has the great merit of having solved a difficulty which is, as stated, decades old. Since this is so, can it be a model for a resolution of border disputes between India and other countries? This question is significant because the future of India’s relationship with Pakistan and China depends on management of their border-related disputes. Like India, both are nuclear powers, and anything above the “accepted” level of conflict may – in the extreme – lead to a nuclear holocaust in south Asia. Continue reading