further to the several recent questions & astute observations here regarding both the maritime & exclave situations of bangladesh india
the following extracts are from a thoughtful & timely as well as diplomatic essay
suggesting a major sea change could now be the offing
owing to the recent landslide victory of the awami league
>Take for example the un-demarcated maritime boundary issue. In a recent seminar organized by the Daily Star on this issue, participants were unanimous that Bangladesh's future lay in her territorial waters where India's counter claims have put a spanner. The Seminar established the fact hitherto little known in Bangladesh that the extent of the area that has been causing problems for Bangladesh with India is but a very small percentage of latter's total territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal. However, the nature of India's claims, supported by Myanmar, is such that it would take away from Bangladesh a major part of her legal claims in the Bay of Bengal, an area that is presumed to be very rich in unexploited hydrocarbons. Although it is difficult yet to assume how India would deal with Bangladesh after her move on the security issue, it may not be very unrealistic to expect that India would demonstrate the political will to resolve the issue of the
maritime boundary by taking on board Bangladesh's claims that are both fair and legal.
>In fact, it does not have to be the maritime issue upon which India could begin its reciprocal gesture. India could make it on a wide range of other outstanding issues ...
also hot today
or rather tomorrow
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Demarcation of Maritime Boundary
'Settle disputes, create separate ministry to protect sea territory'
The new government should attach high priority to settling disputes over demarcation of maritime boundary with India and Myanmar to avert any aggression by external forces, said the experts on sea resources and academics yesterday.
They advocated for creating a separate ministry to protect the sea territory of Bangladesh and fully utilise the sea resources saying that the country's maritime territory, which is around two lakh square kilometers, has so far been remained unused for the disputes.
They made the observations at a press conference organised by the National Committee to Protect Bangladesh's Maritime Territories and Resources at the National Press Club in the capital.
“To settle the maritime dispute, the primary task of the government will be to conduct surveys on the sea claimable by Bangladesh as per the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” said Commodore (retd) Khurshed Alam, member- secretary of the national committee.
He said Bangladesh may lose the control of its own maritime territories if it fails to make primary claims on the basis of UNCLOS to the UN by 2011.
Bangladesh's Territorial Water & Maritime Zones Act of 1974 was not scientific, he said, adding, “This act should be amended in accordance with the UNCLOS.”
Khurshed said the negotiations with Myanmar and India have not been effective since long and this caused conflicts with the two neighbouring countries.
In 1974, Bangladesh allowed six oil companies to explore gas and oil in the Bay, but India intercepted them. Again in 2005, Bangladesh declared 28 blocks in the Bay for oil and gas exploration, but India and Myanmar objected to it.
On the other hand, India and Myanmar have claimed that most of the 28 blocks belong to them and want to establish their claims in various ways.
India has already leased two disputed blocks to international oil companies.
Recently, Myanmar brought their ships in the disputed territory in the Bay creating tension between the two countries.
It is apprehended that Bangladesh will lose a large chunk of maritime territory and will not be able to claim any continental shelf if the claims made by Myanmar and India on the delimitation of maritime boundary are accepted.
“Bangladesh should follow equity policy unlike India and Myanmar which are following equidistance policy in the delimitation of maritime boundary,” said Khurshed in his keynote presentation.
Prof Anu Muhammad said neither the state nor the think tanks or the media have any comprehensive idea about the country's huge sea resources resulting in the current situation.
“Delimitation of the maritime boundary is very important for our resources, waterways and after all our sovereignty,” he said, adding that sea resources are much more than land resources of Bangladesh.
Prof Serajul Islam Chowdhury said the issue of maritime boundary must be discussed at length in parliament so that all can become aware of it.
“Huge sea resources should not be allowed to be grabbed by others for our mistakes,” he added.
Justice Golam Rabbani, engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah and Dr Akmal Hossain also spoke at the press conference chaired by engineer M Inamul Hoque.
& likewise from tomorrows news
yet slanted differently
'Bangladesh may lose big Bay area'
Sat, Jan 10th, 2009 12:19 am BdST
Dhaka, Jan 9 (bdnews24.com) – Bangladesh stands to lose a large sea area to two neighbours if it does not register its claims with the UN by 2011, warns a grouping of eminent citizens.
Myanmar has already filed its claims to the UN, while the India is processing the issue, according to National Committee to Protect Maritime Area and Resources.
The loss could be to the tune of 15-40 thousand square kilometres of sea area, a possibility if the two neighbours filed their claims and Bangladesh did not.
"In accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Bangladesh will have to lodge primary claims about its maritime boundary by 2011 after necessary surveys," retired commodore Khurshed Alam said, speaking Friday at a press conference for the committee.
"But Bangladesh is yet to reach any decision in this regard," he said. "The loss will have huge economic consequences," the former commodore said in a written statement.
Failure to meet the 2011 deadline would mean Bangladesh would have to be satisfied with the leftover from India and Myanmar, the committee warned.
The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones Act 1974 of Bangladesh has never been updated in line with the UNCLOS Charter of 1982, the former navy officer said.
The maritime boundary dispute has already hit headlines in recent months, with both India and Myanmar trying to explore for natural resources into territory that Bangladesh claims its.
Bangladesh banks not only on its many rivers, said professor Serajul Islam Chowdhury, but also the Bay of Bengal.
Chowdhury and other eminent citizens have formed the committee to create awareness among all, including policymakers, about the importance of protecting Bangladesh's sea resources.
Prof Chowdhury said the maritime issue should be discussed in the parliament.
Prof Anu Muhammad said failure to secure sea rights bordered on compromise with the sovereignty of the country.
Prof Akmal Hossain cited the recent "intrusion of India and Myanmar into the Bangladesh waters" and said these incidents proved the resourcefulness of the Bay.
"Diplomacy should be the means to resolve such issues, but, first, we need to demarcate our maritime borders," said Hossain, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University.
If diplomacy fails, he said, Bangladesh could go to the International Tribunal.
The committee recommended that a maritime ministry be formed to deal solely with the issue.
It said Bangladesh will have to establish its rights on Dakhin (south) Talpatti Island resolving the dispute with India.
According to that UN charter, Bangladesh can claim up to 350 nautical miles (650 kilometres) of the Bay of Bengal from the continental shelf.