LBA PASSING IS HUGE DIPLOMATIC SUCCESS FOR BD: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday described the passing of the long-pending Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh by Indian Rajya Sabha as Bangladesh’s huge diplomatic success and thanked all those involved in the process.
“The much-awaited LBA Bill was passed in (Indian) Rajya Sabha unanimously on Wednesday. I think it’s a huge diplomatic success for us and I extend my sincere thanks to all those involved in the process,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while delivering her introductory speech at a meeting of senior officials of the Home Ministry and other organisations under the ministry at the Bangladesh Secretariat. This was her second visit to the ministry since she assumed office for the third time.
The Bill that will allow operationalisation of the 1974 Indo-Bangla deal and its protocol in 2011 got through the Rajya Sabha with full support from 181 members.
The Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian parliament, on Wednesday unanimously passed the 119th constitution amendment bill on Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh paving the way for permanent settlement of decades-old boundary disputes between the two neighbouring countries.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj placed the Bill aimed at ratifying the LBA between India and Bangladesh under the Indira-Mujib pact of 1974 to exchange areas and people on either side of the border.
Highlighting the background for the initiative of passage of the LBA Bill, Sheikh Hasina said no step was taken about the issue till Bangladesh’s independence since partition of Bengal.
She said it was Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who first had taken initiatives after independence for the settlement of the long-running boundary disputes between the two neighbouring countries.
But after Bangabandhu’s assasination, Sheikh Hasina said, this process was stalled and no subsequent government took any measures to this end.
“The post-75 governments did not take any initiative for resolving any pending issues with India whether it was Land Boundary Agreement or maritime boundary dispute,” she said.
The Prime Minister said those governments only scolded the Awami League government accusing it of “selling off country”. But, in fact, they did not take any initiative for protecting the hard-earned independence and sovereignty of the nation,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government after taking office in 1996 after long 21 years, took step to resolve the pending problems with India and other neighbouring countries.
“But the process got stalled again when the BNP-Jamaat alliance government came to power in 2001 as they didn’t say anything about the maritime boundary and land boundary,” she said.
The Prime Minister noted that it was the Awami League government which resumed the process after coming back to power in 2009. “We resolved the two problems with India — one is Land Boundary Agreement and other is maritime boundary dispute,” she said.
The LBA was signed in 1974 but was not ratified by India as it involved transfer of territory which required a constitutional amendment.
The bill on the LBA aims to give effect to acquisition of territories by India and transfer of territories to Bangladesh and exchange of enclaves in line with the 1974 agreement.
MAY 07, 2015