India finds control of South Talpatti, Hariabhanga river significant gain

New Age Online

The Indian government views as a ‘significant gain’ its achievement of the control of the disputed South Talpatti, known as New Moore island in India, and concomitant access to Hariabhanga river through the verdict of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on India-Bangladesh maritime border dispute.

The Bangladesh government and local and regional media hyped the verdict as Bangladesh’s conquering the sea while the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance was criticising the government for losing the South Talpatti island.

The New Delhi-based television NDTV in its report headlined ‘UN tribunal resolves 40-year-old maritime dispute between India and Bangladesh’ on Sunday said it had accessed an internal note of the Indian government which ‘suggests otherwise’, ‘So has India lost out?’.

‘Even though India believes the delimitation has been done in an arbitrary fashion, it is not the loser. Control of the disputed New Moore Island and concomitant access to Hariabhanga river is a significant gain,’ the television channel reported.

‘The island, supposedly rich in oil and natural gas, has been a traditional sore point between the two neighbouring countries. The Hariabhanga river flows [through] the Sundarbans in West Bengal and borders Satkhira district of Bangladesh, and the region holds twice the amount of hydrocarbons as compared to the Krishna-Godavari basin in Andhra Pradesh,’ adds the report uploaded on its website on Sunday.

The verdict, binding on both countries, opens the way for Bangladesh to explore oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal, and ends a dispute over a sea border with India that has ruffled ties between the neighbours.

Both the governments have called the verdict a win-win situation. ‘It is the victory of friendship and a win-win situation for the people of Bangladesh and India,’ Bangladesh’s foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said on Tuesday after the ruling of the Hague-based arbitration court.

‘The settlement of the maritime boundary will further enhance mutual understanding and goodwill between India and Bangladesh by [settling] a long-pending issue,’ India’s ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

‘Incidentally, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj chose Bangladesh as the destination of her first standalone visit, which perhaps goes on to show the importance India attaches to its relationship with Bangladesh,’ the television said.


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