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Rajasekhar Unnam asked: How in reality the border security between India and Bangladesh will change with the exchange of enclaves, other than providing relief to the local people there?

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  • Pushpita Das replies: The exchange of 162 enclaves between India and Bangladesh will enhance border security and improve the management of the international boundary in a substantial manner. Presently, due to their peculiar status, these enclaves do not have a state presence in the form of an administrative set-up. As a result, the inhabitants of these enclaves are deprived of legitimate means of livelihood, which has forced many of them to engage in smuggling and other illegal activities. The situation is further compounded by the absence of police in these enclaves. Lack of law enforcement has made most of them havens for criminals, illegal migrants and insurgents.

    Furthermore, the presence of Bangladeshi enclaves inside India in a way brought the international boundary inside the country. Ideally, the access to these enclaves were to be controlled by the respective country in which they were located, but given their unique status no agency was responsible for guarding their perimeters or manning their access routes. The Border Security Force (BSF) was entrusted with the task of monitoring only the Teen Bigha Corridor connecting Dahagram and Angarpota. Such an arrangement raised serious security concerns as it was easy for a criminal or a terrorist to slip into the Indian territory unnoticed. More often than not, the inability of the BSF to accurately differentiate an Indian resident from a Bangladeshi created tensions with the local people. The presence of counter enclaves also added to the problem manifold.

    With the implementation of the Land Boundary Agreement, such anomalies along the boundary will be rectified and the India-Bangladesh international boundary will be fully demarcated. The inhabitants of these enclaves will become either Indian or Bangladeshi citizens and will enjoy full political, socio-economic and cultural rights. They will get access to health, education, civic amenities, and police protection. Availability of legitimate means of earning shall wean them away from criminal activities, which would reduce cross border crime as well as friction between them and the border guarding forces. The BSF will also be able to devote more attention to guarding the international border. This will definitely have a positive impact on the security of the border as well as its management.

    Posted on June 15, 2015