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HEADLINE
 
'Encroachment' on territorial waters
India seeks evidence from Bangladesh
M Azizur Rahman
7/25/2006
 

          India has expressed concern over the allegation raised by Bangladesh on the encroachment on latter's territorial waters in the Bay and requested supporting documents from the foreign affairs ministry.
"The Indian Foreign Ministry has formally requested relevant information a couple of weeks back pointing to the allegation and the area of territorial waters deemed intruded in the Bay from Bangladesh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs," a senior Foreign Ministry official told the FE Monday.
He said Bangladesh will respond shortly elaborating the basis of the allegation and stressing the need to settle the dispute.
Sources said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) in May this year alleged that India had overlapped 19,000 square kilometres, while Myanmar about 18,000 square kilometres in the Bangladesh's exclusive economic zone (ECZ) in the Bay of Bengal.
The Bangladesh Foreign Ministry protested the encroachments subsequently summoning Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Veena Sikri and Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh U Thane Myint on May 18 last.
Myanmar authorities, however, have reacted on the issue on the following day on May 19 and assured Bangladesh that they would never encroach on Bangladesh's territorial waters, Foreign Ministry sources said.
The assurance was given to Bangladesh foreign secretary Hemayetuddin when he visited Yangon for talks with the deputy foreign minister of Myanmar U Kyaw Thu in the first formal foreign secretary-level consultations between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
But the Indian foreign ministry sent the letter, the Indian authorities remained tight-lipped on the issue before sending the letter to the Bangladesh foreign ministry, EMRD sources said.
Bangladesh has already taken steps to back its claim on the territorial waters by initiating the process for the third round international bidding for the deep sea hydrocarbon exploration, including the blocks in un-demarcated areas that Myanmar and India, allegedly, have intruded into.
"We have taken steps to float international tender covering our 200 nautical miles in the Bay and preparing to open international tenders for hydrocarbon exploration there to establish our legitimate claim," EMRD adviser Mahmudur Rahman told the FE.
The EMRD under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) on July 19 has already finalised model production-sharing contracts (PSCs), new offshore gas blocks and their sizes to expedite the process of deep-sea hydrocarbon exploration.

 

 
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