Narendra Modi pushes for Parliamentary approval of Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken an initiative to push for Parliamentary approval of the Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh before December 16, the day when the Indian Army defeated its Pakistan counterpart in 1971 and paved the way for the birth of the neighbouring country.

The central leadership of the BJP has asked the party’s West Bengal unit to water down its reservations against the agreement in the larger interest of India-Bangladesh relations, people familiar with the matter told ET, adding that the next round of discussions on this issue will be held within the party later this month.

Modi is keen for ratification of the LBA before this year’s celebrations on December 16-17, the leader said.

The ratification has been pending since it was signed in September 2011, when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Dhaka.

The Congress-led UPA government could not ratify the LBA despite introducing the necessary bill in the Lok Sabha for want of adequate numbers in the House.

Narendra Modi pushes for Parliamentary approval of Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement

However, the bill is alive in the Rajya Sabha, where the LBA (Constitutional Amendment) Bill was introduced last year by the then External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid before the winter session was to be adjourned sine die.

Although the ruling BJP-led NDA does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, it does not expect opposition on this issue from the Congress, which had introduced the bill. Khurshid had tried thrice to evolve consensus over the LBA but did not succeed.

While more work needs to be done before signing the Teesta accord with Bangladesh, implementation of the LBA will signal India’s commitment to deepen ties with its neighbour. The Sheikh Hasina government has already ratified the agreement.