Bangladesh takes marine border dispute with India to UN


Senior Member
Jun 29, 2009
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Bangladesh takes marine border dispute with India to UN

Dhaka, Nov 10 (IANS) 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.


Senior Member
Feb 23, 2009
Well, this lays to rest pseudo-claims that Bangladesh's government is not working in it's country's interest.

The continental shelf is arguably a natural prolongation of the landmass of Bangladesh in the southward direction. Much of the continental shelf can be argued to be the deposit of silt (about 2.4 tons annually) from the rivers that flow through Bangladesh. In other words, had there been no large, inundating rivers flowing through Bangladesh, naturally engineering the deposits of silt landward of the abyssal plains, the continental shelf might not have existed.

But there are other methods to resolve the delimination, including equidistance that factors in special considerations :

- the presence of islands or inlets as well as navigational channels
- geo-morphological or topographical features
- physiographic and continental margin natures
- continuity, concavity or convexity (the Bay of Bengal is a single, continuous, concave shelf)
- known cumulative natural resource distribution
- oceanic access and access to the high seas / the International Sea Bed.

In the interim, Both sides are prone to make concessions on a reciprocal basis, keeping in mind the difficult nature of delimiting territorial waters and the "lionizing" of continental shelves under the litany of factors that constitute a fair judgment w.r.t. international jurisprudence.

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