Bangladesh FM for amicable solution to deep sea dispute with India

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Aug 24,2019 | Updated: 18:52, Aug 24,2019


Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Friday said Bangladesh and India agreed to withdraw their objections lodged with the United Nations on the disputes involving claims to the deep sea floor as the issue would be resolved amicably.

Bangladesh and India agreed to withdraw their objections on maritime boundary once the issue was resolved amicably, he said in a statement forwarded to the New Age by his public relations officer Tohidul Islam by email in connection to a report published on Friday with headline ‘FM’s stance likely to hamper  Bangladesh’s interests.’

New Age published the report based on a statement the minister Momen made at his office, after a meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar in Dhaka on August 20, to several journalists at his office, the minister mentioned that they had discussed ways to resolve the disputes related to the claims to the continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal and both the countries would ‘mutually withdraw their objections lodged with the United Nations.’

The disputes popped up as India, in 2009, submitted its claim to the continental shelf of the Bay of the Bengal cutting off Bangladesh’s access to the deep sea and creating a dispute over 9,000 square kilometres of areas claimed by Bangladesh of the continental shelf.

India also created another dispute by setting a coordinate 2.3 miles inside the Bangladesh territory on the official maps.

Bangladesh immediately lodged separate objections with the UN on the matters as the maritime boundary delimitation between the two countries remained unresolved back in 2009.

On 25 February 2011, Bangladesh submitted to the commission on the limits of the continental shelf within 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

India put another objection on record against Bangladesh’s claims, according to the documents available at the UN website.

Bangladesh diplomats at the UN believed that Myanmar would be an automatic beneficiary of the withdrawal of objections involving India without specific solutions to the claims of Bangladesh on continental shelf and grey area.

The grey area at the deep sea involving Bangladesh’s maritime boundary was set by an international tribunal.   

Myanmar also lodged a submission to the UN, in December 2008, to establish its claim in deep sea from the west coast abutting the Bay of Bengal, including around the Preparis and Co Co Islands, which Bangladesh disputes.

Bangladesh objected to the Myanmar submission claiming that the areas Myanmar was seeking in the outer continental shelf form part of the natural prolongation of Bangladesh.

The cases on objections recorded by Bangladesh, India and Myanmar are still pending with the UN.

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