India’s claimed maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal has overlapped Bangladesh’s exclusive economic zone determined through international arbitration in 2014, according to reports.
Failing to settle the issue through bilateral talks in the past seven years, Bangladesh had on September 13, sent a letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General. It expressed Dhaka concern about New Delhi’s position on the maritime boundary, Bangla daily Prothom Alo reports.
Bangladesh has made its claim in line with international law over the continent shelf, a 350-mile area of slope in the sea from the coastline. Of this, a 200-mile area, which is called exclusive economic zone, belongs to the adjacent littoral country.
In April, India forwarded a letter to the United Nations, raising objections to Bangladesh's claim over the continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal.
“Both Bangladesh and India had accepted the judgment, passed by the international arbitration court, on settlement of maritime disputes in 2014. After that verdict, there’s no scope to initiate any new steps,” former foreign secretary Touhid Hossain told the newspaper on Friday.
Bangladesh’s letter, sent by the permanent mission in New York to the UN chief, has reportedly been published on the UN website in the meantime.
Md. Khurshid Alam, Secretary of the Maritime Affairs Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted to have said, “The manner in which India has determined her baseline is contrary to Section 7 of the UNCLOSE [UN Convention on Law of the Sea]. That is why we have raised our objections.”
The newspaper could not secure comments from the Indian High Commission in Dhaka despite attempts.
India earlier claimed reportedly that the baseline on the basis of which Bangladesh has determined its continental shelf is a part of India's continental shelf.
In the letter, Bangladesh said it had not informed the UN and its member states for quite a long time.
However, Bangladesh will now continue to oppose Indian’s position until the latter resolves the issue requesting the UN, according to the letter.
Bangladesh reportedly argued that India enacted laws relating to territorial sea and exclusive economic zone in 1976. India brought an amendment after 33 years, in 2009, to determine the baseline.
In the letter Bangladesh also pointed out that although there was a provision to determine the baseline from the coast, India has drawn some baseline from the sea. Bangladesh cited the example of the base point number 87, from where the Indian coast is about 10 and a half nautical miles away.
The location of India's 89th base point is nearly 2.3 miles into Bangladesh's territorial waters.
India, in its April 2021 letter to the UN, requested the UN not to consider Bangladesh's claims.