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Modi arrives in Bangladesh for landmark border deal

India's prime minister has arrived in Dhaka ahead of a land deal that is expected to offer 50,000 people citizenship. Modi has described it as a "watershed moment" in Indian-Bangladeshi ties.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Dhaka for a two-day visit, during which he is expected to sign numerous trade deals and a

landmark land swap agreement to end a longstanding border dispute

.

Modi will meet with Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a joint ratification ceremony to discuss potential agreements.

However, the visit will be dominated by the land swap agreement which will end a border dispute resulting from Bangladesh's 1971 war of secession from Pakistan.

While Dhaka endorsed the deal in 1974, India had not ratified the Land Boundary Agreement until this year.

The deal will offer more than 50,000 inhabitants in the contested area the opportunity to choose their citizenships.

Under the agreement, India and Bangladesh will swap territories in Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, and eastern West Bengal.

Modi has compared the land deal to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which marks "a watershed moment in our ties with Bangladesh."

Border control

India's Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told reporters that the deal will aid in the fight against human trafficking and drug smuggling on the border, reported the AFP news agency.

"The enclaves in the past have been territories out of bounds for law enforcement agencies, often they have been misused to seek refuge by elements who have been undermining law and order," Jaishankar said.

"So the clarity and discipline, which will come from the clearly demarcated borders will help the land border between the countries much more secure."

ls/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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