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Bangladesh takes marine border dispute with India to UN

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 12:33

Dhaka: Bangladesh has registered its objection with the UN to India`s claim over certain areas in the Bay of Bengal, three months after a similar missive was filed against Myanmar`s claim.
The three nations have not clearly demarcated their maritime boundaries and are moving the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), a UN body to deal with the law of the seas.

The disputes require urgent solution because of the race for the hydrocarbons in the Bay of Bengal.

Dhaka had a stand-off with Myanmar in November last year and with India earlier this year when survey ships from the neighbourhood, accompanied by naval vessels, marked their presence in territory that Bangladesh claims as its own.

"We have submitted our objection to the maritime commission of the UN on Oct 29," Bangladesh`s permanent representative to the UN M.A. Momen told New Age newspaper over phone Monday.

India submitted its claim on maritime boundary to the CLCS in May 2009, one month ahead of its deadline.

Bangladesh lodged its objection to Myanmar`s claim this July.

Dhaka`s disputes over territorial waters in the bay with both New Delhi and Yangon are in two areas - that of natural prolongation of the continental shelf and the baseline.

India argues that the course of the natural prolongation of continental shelf is from east to west while Bangladesh says it is from north to south.

Bangladesh and India have some overlapping claims on baselines.

According to the UN, Bangladesh must demarcate its sea boundaries by July 27, 2011, India by June 29, 2009 and Myanmar by May 21, 2009.

As per the UN provision, claims submitted by any country would not be taken for final consideration before settling the objection raised by a neighbouring country which might have overlapping claims.

Dhaka opted to go for negotiations as India and Myanmar recently opposed Bangladesh`s offshore block biddings for exploration of oil and gas.

Bangladesh has problems with India and Myanmar on the issue of `starting point` on how to mark the coastlines from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that has apparently overlapped claims of the three neighbouring countries due to the shape of the Bay of Bengal.


First Published: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 12:33
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