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Enclaves swapped in landmark India-Bangladesh border deal

July 31, 2015 6:54 pm

India and Bangladesh have swapped control of some 160 small pockets of land on each other’s territory.

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

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.

Most of the people living in the enclaves – 111 in Bangladesh and 51 in India – will stay where they are, but change nationality.

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, the BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder reports.

For six 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.

Hitherto residents have had difficulty getting access to basic facilities such as education.