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‘Strip’ map swap with Bangla

New Delhi, Jan. 14: India and Bangladesh will exchange final “strip maps” at a formal event in Dhaka when Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde visits the neighbouring capital later this month, government sources said.

The show of camaraderie will come at a time tensions are running high on the western border with Pakistan in the wake of ceasefire violations and the beheading of a slain Indian soldier.

Strip maps are drawings that show the position on the border “as it is”, including critical points, details of roadsides or towns and facilities. The maps India will hand over have been prepared by the directors of the survey and land records departments of states that share the 4,096km border with Bangladesh.

Sources said the January 28 map swap would be one of the last few steps before India passes a constitutional amendment needed for exchanging enclaves — islands of landlocked settlements of Indians or Bangladeshis in the other country — and adversely possessed land along the border.

The amendment is required because the exercise involves exchange of land and populations.

India and Bangladesh have decided to put to rest their long-standing border dispute by exchanging these enclaves.

“Strip maps will help if changes are to be made,” said an official.

India has 111 enclaves landlocked inside Bangladesh, which has 51 such areas inside India. An enclave swap will see India hand over 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh and get back 7,110.02 acres.

Some strip maps had also been signed in Dhaka in the run-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit in 2011. A protocol was signed on September 6 that year after Singh reached Dhaka.