Sat, 15 Dec 2012 01:38:17 GMT

Indian govt discussing LBA ratification extensively: Kumar

From Anisur Rahman
Dhaka, Dec 14 (PTI) The Indian government is engaged in extensive discussions with all political parties to pave the way for ratification of a crucial land boundary agreement with Bangladesh for the exchange of enclaves in each other''s possession, Indian law Minister Ashwani Kumar said today.

The Land Boundary Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina here in September last year, formalising a 1974 treaty inked for exchange of land in adverse possession and enclaves.

Indian Cabinet Committee on National Security (CCS) had in July this year cleared the treaty and it now awaits ratification in Lok Sabha before being implemented.

"The external affairs minister (Salman Khurshid) is in extensive discussions with the political parties to reach an agreement for the ratification and a full presentation on the matter was already given to the principal opposition BJP," Kumar told PTI.

The Indian law minister is in Dhaka to receive an honour on behalf of his father Late Shri Prabodh Chandra for his outstanding support to Bangladesh''s 1971 war of independence.

He said: "we are very hopeful that the issue will be resolved very soon" when asked if the current session of the parliament could ratify the treaty, a long outstanding issue in bilateral ties.

Indian government leaders had earlier hinted that the ratification could be done soon after the process was stalled for decades.

In an informal interaction with the Bangladeshi media during his visit to Dhaka, Khurshid, who was then the law minister, had said that ratification of the land border agreement was the commitment of the "state of India".

Soon after his arrival Kumar called on Prime Minister Hasina who reviewed bilateral issues and said she expected the bilateral ties "which saw a new trajectory in the past four years" to grow further for mutual benefit, according to a spokesman in the prime minister''s office.

According to a statement by the Indian High Commission, Kumar complimented the premier for the rapid progress Bangladesh has made in different spheres under her leadership and her contribution to the strengthening of Indo-Bangla relations.

"He (Kumar) reiterated India''s commitment to develop the best possible relations with Bangladesh in all fields based on the principles of mutual respect, sovereignty and mutual benefit (as it) was committed to resolving all issues through consultation and with the highest priority," it read.

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