Dhaka set to take its case to UN
Dhaka is set to raise its objection at the United Nations shortly to India and Myanmar’s claims over certain areas in the Bay of Bengal which has led to disputes over delimitation of maritime boundaries.
Bangladesh is preparing its case for extraction of marine resources, especially gas exploration, in the Bay of Bengal but has not been able to invite tenders for block bidding as its maritime boundary has not been demarcated as yet.
‘We are taking preparations to put forward our objection at the UN by June to Myanmar’s claim and by November to India’s claim in the Bay of Bengal,’ an official involved with the process told New Age on Monday.
Myanmar has already submitted its claim on maritime delimitation to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, a UN body to deal with the law of the sea, last December while India is set to submit its claim today.
According to the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, Bangladesh must demarcate its sea boundaries by July 27, 2011, India by June 29, 2009 and Myanmar by May 21, 2009.
About the latest developments over the issue, retired commodore Khorshed Alam, an additional secretary to the foreign ministry, told New Age that according to 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.
The former navy official, assigned for handling the issue, said that Bangladesh was well preparing to lay its claims at the United Nations before the deadline.
Dhaka resumed negotiations with India and Myanmar last year, during the regime of the military-controlled interim government, after a lapse of almost three decades.
Dhaka opted to go for the negotiations as India and Myanmar recently opposed Bangladesh’s offshore block bidding for exploration of oil and gas even within its territorial waters as Dhaka did not have an internationally accepted exclusive economic zone.
Bangladesh has problems with India and Myanmar on the issue of ‘starting point’ on how to mark the coastlines from the exclusive economic zone that has apparently overlapped claims of the three neighbouring countries due to the funnel-like shape of the Bay of Bengal.
A country is supposed to enjoy its right to fish and extract and explore other marine resources in its exclusive economic zone, an area of 200 nautical miles into an adjacent sea, according to international maritime law.