Bangladesh, India Sign Historic Land Swap Deal

Bangladesh, India Sign Historic Land Swap DealBangladesh, India Sign Historic Land Swap Deal

India and Bangladesh swapped control of some 160 small pockets of land on each other’s territory, ending one of the world’s most intractable border disputes that has kept thousands in limbo for nearly seven decades.

The enclaves, home to some 50,000 people, were created through local peace treaties in the 18th century, BBC reported.

New national flags were to be hoisted as a landmark accord between the two countries came into effect at midnight local time on Friday.

Residents were asked to choose where they wanted to live and which nationality they would prefer.

The overwhelming majority of people living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh opted for Bangladeshi citizenship. But nearly 1,000 chose to keep their Indian nationality, meaning they will leave their homes by November for India.

In India, all the Bangladeshis living in the 51 Bangladesh enclaves decided to switch nationalities.

The enclaves endured through British colonial rule and the independence first of India and more recently Bangladesh.

After the partition of India in 1947, their inhabitants remained where they were, residents of one country but located inside the other.

For seven decades, they have been treated as in effect stateless, but the agreement between India and Bangladesh means they will now finally gain a proper identity.

Bangladesh endorsed a deal with India in 1974 to dissolve the pockets, but India only signed the final agreement in June when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Dhaka.