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This month, India's parliament took the first step toward a potentially momentous decision: to settle a boundary dispute with Bangladesh that dates back to the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.With 111 Indian enclaves spread over 17,000 acres in Bangladesh, and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves spread over 7,110 acres in India, a settlement would involve a net transfer of some 40 square kilometers (15.4 square miles) of territory from India to its eastern neighbor.In 1971, though, Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan, facilitated by India, allowed for the possibility of a solution, and a land-boundary agreement was concluded in 1974 .Given that Bangladesh gains the most from the settlement, both officially expanding its territory and enhancing its position relative to India, the deal should face no resistance there.To prevent such a misperception from hampering the bill's passage through India's parliament, the country's leaders must explain to the public that neither India nor Bangladesh will be relinquishing territory that it actually controls at the moment.In fact, India has no access to the enclaves within Bangladesh that it supposedly rules; there are no customs posts, border markings, post offices, or police to reflect India's control. Giving Bangladesh legal rights to territory within its own borders is the least India can do to express its gratitude.
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