Thursday, August 22, 2019 | ePaper

Muhurir Char dispute: A peaceful solution is needed

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BANGLADESH eyes a solution to the long-standing dispute with India over a two-kilometer stretch of the international boundary line along the cross-border river Muhuri, while Indian government wants a fresh survey on the river. The diplomatic disclosure comes up when social media is flaring up Agartala Airport expansion into Bangladesh territory. The dispute over the land held back the implementation of the 1974 Mujib-Indira land boundary agreement even four years after the exchange of instruments of its ratification between the two nations over the exchange of enclaves. A 16-member Bangladesh team is scheduled to leave Dhaka on August 6 and return in the night of August 8 to discuss the bilateral issues. But we are still not sure about the diplomatic ability of Bangladesh to champion the national interest against the Indian Chanakya diplomacy.
The two countries had demarcated the disputed Muhurir Char with wooden pillars, nearly 200 yards away from Belonia Land Port in Feni. The issue could not be settled to date as India is pushing for a further survey. According to Border Guard Bangladesh officials, out of 92.14 acres of Muhurir Char land, Bangladesh has got 71.94 acres and the rest 20.20 acres have gone to India after the area was demarcated with wooden pillars in accordance with 2011 protocol. From 1979 to 1999, BGB and Indian Border Security Force exchanged gunfire in at least eight incidents over the movement of civilians along Muhurir Char. All outstanding issues except for the dispute over Muhurir Char have already been settled under the LBA that came into effect with the exchange of instruments of the LBA between the two countries in June 2015.
Bangladesh wants the issue to be settled according to the 1974 land boundary agreement and the 2011 protocol which do not allow any such changes in the map. We want a peaceful solution of the disputed land or boundary demarcation without compromising the national interest.

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