Dhaka: Bangladesh and India on Saturday inked strip maps to demarcate over 4,000-kilometre international border between the two neighbours in a bid to settle the long-standing frontier-related discord ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the country next month. (Agencies)
"This signing of the strip maps containing the Bangladesh-India International border boundary line coordination point will end an outstanding issue which (has) remained unresolved for the past 65 years," said Land Minister Rezaul Karim Hira at a function in the capital to mark the launch of the signing process.
A strip map is an unscaled drawing of a route to include critical points along the border, roadside features and town facilities on a simple flip-over style map. The map usually incorporates distances.
Rajeet Mitter, the Indian High Commissioner here, and Tariq Ahmad Karim, his Bangladesh counterpart in New Delhi, were designated to sign jointly some 11,000 maps, expected to be completed ahead of Indian Prime Minister's September 6-7 Dhaka visit.
"The two envoys are ambassadors plenipotentiary or officials having authority to resolve dispute and that is why they are entrusted with the task of signing the maps," a Home Ministry official said.
Officials said the two envoys have already signed some of 1,149 maps.
The two neigbours formally acknowledged their 1947 boundary lines by signing the strip maps on Saturday to demarcate a 4,156-kilometre, mostly porous international border between them to resolve an outstanding issue pending since 1947.
The Home Ministry official, familiar with the process, said the strip map was required to ensure international recognition to the 1947 boundary lines as the drawings in the map would mark the frontier lines across the border and significant features along that line.
Home Minister Shahara Khatun, who was also present on the occasson, said Bangladesh shares borders with five Indian states. The longest 2,262 kilometers border is with West Bengal (Paschim Banga) followed by 874 kilometers with Tripura, 436 kilometres with Meghalaya, 320 kilometres with Mizoram and 264 kilometres with Assam.
Foreign minister Dipu Moni was also present at the function in the capital along with Minister of State for Land Mostafizur Rahman and Minister of State for Home Shamsul Hoque Tuku, senior officials of concerned ministries and chiefs of paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Force (BSF).
Last month, the two neighbours inked a key agreement aimed at enhancing quality of border management and ensuring cross-frontier security through measures like joint vigils to deal with human trafficking and smuggling of drugs and weapons.
Bangladesh and India have also concluded a crucial joint survey in 162 'enclaves' on both sides of their porous borders so as to prepare the ground for a deal on the historical dispute during the Indian premier's visit.
The enclaves, or areas land-locked by territories belonging to the other side, has been an unresolved border issue between the two countries since the Partition of the subcontinent.
Dhaka: Bangladesh and India on Saturday inked strip maps to demarcate over 4,000-kilometre international border between the two neighbours in a bid to settle the long-standing frontier-related discord ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the country next month.