India should respect UN decision on maritime boundary

20 September 2021 Editorial Desk
India should respect UN decision on maritime boundary

Over the past seven years Bangladesh has tried to bilaterally resolve India's claim on a part of the coastal baseline used by India but without success. Eventually on September 13, Dhaka sent a letter to the UN secretary general, apprising him of our position on the issue. Media reports said the Bangladesh permanent mission in New York sent the letter to the UN secretary general. In the letter, Bangladesh contended that Dhaka is determined in its claim to the continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal on the basis of the verdict passed in 2014 by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague.

Both sides had accepted the verdict passed by the tribunal regarding Bangladesh and India's maritime boundary claims. There can be no new measure after that verdict. A continental shelf is the part of the land of a coastal country and slopes down and is gradually submerged in the sea. The continental shelf extends straight from the baseline for 350 miles. Of this, the concerned country has sovereign rights up to 200 miles of the area where no other country can fish or claim mineral resources. After these 200 miles, the country  has the sole right to the mineral resources for the next 150 miles, but other countries can fish in these waters.

The reports said in April, India issued a letter to the United Nations, raising its claim regarding the continental shelf in the Bay. It also requested the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf not to take Bangladesh's claim into consideration. India's base point 89 is around 2.3 miles within Bangladesh maritime boundary. In October 2009, Bangladesh wrote to the Indian External Affairs Ministry, protesting against this baseline, saying that a part of this baseline was in Bangladesh's territory and requested for the error to be amended. The international arbitral tribunal gave its verdict, determining the maritime boundaries of the two close neighbours in line with the United Nations Convention on Law of Sea (UNCLOS). We hope India would follow the UN Convention in resolving its claim with close neighbour Bangladesh as both are friendly neighbours. 

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