Ending a border dispute, the much-awaited exchange of
enclaves (Chhitmahals) between India and Bangladesh came into effect at the
stroke of midnight on Friday-Saturday.
Crackers were burst and people rejoiced as India and
Bangladesh exchanged enclaves, ending the 68 years of stateless existence
for over 51,000 enclave dwellers.
Around 14,000 people living for so long in 51 Bangladeshi
enclaves in the Indian territory, and another 37,000 residing in 111 Indian
enclaves in Bangladesh, now have a country of their own.
The Bangladeshi enclaves are now a part of India, while
the Indian enclaves join Bangladesh.
History was written as India gave away to Bangladesh a
total area of 17,160 acres, covering the 111 enclaves and in return received
7,110 acres comprising 51 enclaves.
As the clock struck 12, the Bharat Bangladesh Enclave
Exchange Co-ordination Committee (BBEECC) - an organisation that fought for
the rights of the enclave dwellers — celebrated the occasion in Mosaldanga
enclave of West Bengal‘s Cooch Behar district.
The 111 Indian enclaves are located in the Bangladesh
districts of Lalmonirhat (59), Panchagarh (36), Kurigram 12 and Nilphamari
(4) while all the 51 Bangladeshi enclaves are situated in Cooch Behar
district of West Bengal.
The swapping is in pursuance of the inking and exchange
of documents of the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) on June 6 in Dhaka, in the
presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart
The LBA was first inked in 1974 by then Bangladesh prime
minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and former Indian prime minister Indira
“July 31, 2015 will thus be a historic day for both India
and Bangladesh. The day marks the resolution of a complex issue that has
lingered since independence.
It also marks the day from which enclave residents on
both sides of the border will enjoy the benefits of nationality of India or
Bangladesh, as the case may be, and thus access to civic services,
education, healthcare and other facilities provided by the two governments
to their respective nationals,” said an official statement released by the
Other steps with regard to implementation of the 1974
Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol are underway in accordance with
agreed modalities between the Indian and Bangladeshi governments, it said.
In a small but significant progress in the chequered
Indo-U.S. space equations, Indian satellite launchers will for the first
time put a few U.S.-made satellites into space from Indian soil.
ISRO’s commercial venture Antrix Corporation recently
signed contracts to launch nine micro and nano spacecraft separately as
small co-passengers on the PSLV light-lifter during this year and next,
according to information from ISRO officials.
A micro satellite weighs in the band of 10-100 kg and a
nano satellite in the range of one to 10 kg.
The U.S. contracts are seen as the first fruit of the
Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) that the Department of Space signed
with the U.S. in July 2009.
The TSA leaves the door open for ISRO to launch small
non-commercial or experimental spacecraft that are made in the US — or even
those of other countries which contain U.S. components.
Until the TSA was signed, even that leeway was not
available for ISRO which aspires to take baby bites in the big global launch
Most satellites made around the world use some or other
ISRO and the U.S. have been working at a bigger accord,
the CSLA (Commercial Satellite Launch Agreement) which, when sealed, will
bring in the business of launching bigger commercial Earth observation or
ISRO’s PSLV launcher, which has done 30 flights with just
one failure since 1993, has a good record and is considered low-priced and
reliable for small satellites.
To date, it has put into orbit 45 small and mid-sized
foreign satellites of 19 nations for a fee.