chapter  19
11 Pages

The decision to move

Post-exchange experiences in the former Bangladesh–India border enclaves
WithMd. Azmeary Ferdoush, Reece Jones

After a complex and protracted negotiation for almost 70 years, Bangladesh and India decided to exchange their border enclaves in 2015. Almost 55,000 people were living in these enclaves at the time of exchange and they were given the option to choose their state of citizenship. Drawing on this exchange, this chapter sheds light on how people choose their citizenship and how modern states make legible spaces. In doing so, the chapter argues that the choice of citizenship is not always determined by ideology or sense of belonging but, to a great extent, by factors such as economic opportunities, religious affiliation, kinship ties, and perceived life chances. At the same time, it argues that modern states are loathe to have ungoverned spaces within their territory and are keen to make legible spaces. In the end, the enclaves became a significant pawn in negotiations between the two states to an extent that had little to do with the actual conditions in the enclaves.