Dhaka: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina signed a big accord on border demarcation ending their 4-decade old disputes over boundaries. India has also announced 24-hour access to Bangladeshis in the Tin Bigha Corridor.
A visit that is being described as path breaking, even historic, began on a rather sour note. The Bangladesh Foreign Ministry summoned India's high commissioner to lodge a protest over Delhi backing out on signing the Teesta river waters agreement, but both sides have now agreed to work towards a satisfactory resolution.
The mood appeared to brighten as other agreements were signed and the most crucial agreement was the demarcation and exchange of adversely held enclaves.
This includes 51,000 people spread over 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladesh enclaves in India. The total land involved is reportedly 7000 acres. Under the agreement, the people can continue residing where they presently live or move to a country of their choice.
India also agreed to allow duty free access to 46 textile items from Bangladesh with immediate effect and the Tin Bigha Corridor will remain open 24 hours to allow Bangladesh nationals through.
A transit agreement was not on the cards. Bangladesh said that there is no need for a fresh deal on transit as existing agreements dating back to 1947 only need to be implemented. India is not pressing given Dhaka's sensitivities on the issue.
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