Dhaka to take its maritime boundary row with India to UN

May 12th, 2009 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, May 12 (IANS) Bangladesh is preparing to take to the UN its maritime boundary row with India and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal.
“We are making 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 told New Age newspaper Monday.

Bangladesh is preparing its case for extraction of marine resources, especially gas exploration, in the upper reaches of Bay of Bengal but has not been able to invite tenders for block bidding as its maritime boundary has not been demarcated as yet.

Myanmar has 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 Tuesday.

According to the UN 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.

Retired commodore Khorshed Alam, an additional secretary at 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 said that Bangladesh was well prepared to lay its claims at the UN before the deadline.

Dhaka resumed negotiations on the issue with India and Myanmar last year after a lapse of almost three decades. It proved to be a non-starter with each side sticking to its position.

Bangladesh opted to go for the negotiations as India and Myanmar recently opposed its 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.

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