24 January, 2021

East Indiaman Afloat

Manmohan’s Dhaka visit can well galvanise the entire eastern subcontinent

Jitender Gupta
East Indiaman Afloat
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In the prevailing ambience of acrimony and suspicion among countries in South Asia, there’s likely to be a piece of news, slated to be announced during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka on September 6, that would count as a ringing endorsement for a humanitarian approach to foreign relations and establishing good neighbourly relations. Finally, after 64 years of dithering, about 55,000 people living in 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India, spread over a band of 100 km, will be recognised as citizens of a nation-state and enjoy the attendant benefits. Till now, they had been “non-citizens”—making them ineligible to benefits like health, education and police, that a state apparatus normally provides—and had to break the law regularly to survive.

To begin with, enclaves (or ‘exclaves’) are defined as territories belonging to one country but lying in a neighbouring country. There are many interesting stories about how the 162 India-Bangladeshi...

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