Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bangladesh wins maritime boundary case with Myanmar


SALEEM SAMAD


BANGLADESH HAS won territorial and economic rights to the vast Bay of Bengal resources in the maritime boundary case with Burma in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in a judgment in Hamburg on Wednesday.

Foreign minister Dipu Moni said a United Nations (UN) maritime tribunal had ruled in Bangladesh’s favor in a complex maritime border dispute with Burma, also known as Myanmar.

Moni said Bangladesh got more than it claimed in its long-running dispute with Burma. "This is a great day for Bangladesh. All our strategic objectives were achieved."



The President of the Tribunal, Jose Luis Jesus of Cape Verde, read the judgment in the Hamburg courtroom.

The verdict opened the way for huge potentiality of offshore oil and gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal, Moni said.

Bangladesh claimed 66,486 square miles while the court provided 68,972 sq. mi area in the Bay of Bengal.



Earlier Burma claimed rights to part of an area Bangladesh has been trying to explore. At the peak of the dispute, both countries sent naval ships to the disputed area, which is about 174 miles off the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong.

The naval forces of Burma and Bangladesh came face to face in the Bay of Bengal in November 2008 after an oil and gas exploration by South Korean Company Daewoo attempt by Burma in a disputed area. The tension however, was diffused by the intervention of international organizations.


Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow, is Bangladesh based award winning investigative reporter. He specializes on Islamic militancy, forced migration, good governance, press freedom and elective democracy. He was detained and tortured in 2002 and later expelled from Bangladesh in 2004 for whistle-blowing on the safe sanctuary offered to the Jihadists who fled during Anglo-US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Ending his life in exile in Canada he has recently returned home after six years. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com