Bangladesh gets 19,467sqkm area in Bay of Bengal

India’s dominance established: BNP bayA United Nations (UN) tribunal has awarded Bangladesh 19,467 square kilometers, or nearly four-fifths of of the 25,602 sq km sea area on which there was a dispute running with India. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali disclosed contents of an arbitration ruling on the case on the water territory at a news conference in Dhaka on Tuesday. Dhaka had sought a ruling to confirm its right to exploit the waters as allowed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “Through this verdict, Bangladesh could finally establish its sovereign rights on more than 118,813 sq kms of territorial sea, 200 nautical miles (NM) of exclusive economic zone and all kinds of animal and non-animal resources under the continental shelf up to 354 NM from the Chittagong coast,” he added. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, dealing with the Bay of Bengal maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh and India, handed copies of the verdict to ambassadors of the two countries on Monday. The five-member panel weighed the case and reached the ruling based on the opinions of the majority members—presiding Judge Rudiger Wolfrum of Germany and Judges Jean-Pierre Cot of France, Thomas A Mensah of Ghana and Ivan Shearer of Australia. Only Pemmaraju Sreenivasa Rao of India differed with the others’ opinion. The UN convention gives a country 12 nautical miles of territorial control with claim to sovereign rights to explore, exploit and manage natural resources within 200 miles. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has said the verdict on disputed maritime boundaries has established India’s dominance over the Bay of Bengal economic zone. Former water resources minister and BNP Vice Chairman M Hafizuddin Ahmed said on Tuesday, after the verdict was issued, that he had “noticed some inconsistencies” in it. He also expressed frustration that Bangladesh had not gained control of the Talpatti Island. The island was found to have disappeared in 2010. “We believe Bangladesh did not get its rights over the exclusive economic zone. On the other hand India has gained dominance over the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf. It is inconsistent,” he said. – Special Correspondent

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