The (EEZ) and Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm.

The negotiations for
delimitation of maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar dated back to
1974. The negotiations continued till April 2010. The only success achieved
through the 38 years long negotiations was an agreement in the form of ‘agreed
minutes’ for delimitation of 12 nautical miles territorial seas from the mouth
of Naaf River signed on 23 November
1974 and reaffirmed in 2008.1
The agreement delimited the maritime boundary within 12 nautical miles on the
basis of equidistance formula between St. Martin’s Islam and Myanmar’s
Mainland. Although never converted into a treaty, both the countries respected
the agreed minutes and under the terms of the agreement, the vessels of Myanmar
have enjoyed, till date, free and unimpeded navigation through Bangladesh
waters around St. Martin’s Island to and from the Naaf River for the trade and commerce. Apart from this, all
subsequent attempts for delimitation of exclusive economic zone and continental
shelf failed to bring any result. 2(Khurshed
sir). During the whole period of negotiations, Bangladesh made continuous
efforts to achieve an ‘equitable solution’ whereas, Myanmar always insisted on
the rigid application of ‘equidistance formula’. Due to unique geographical
location of Bangladesh is tucked between Myanmar and India in the concave north
coast of Bay of Bengal. Added to that is the concavity of Bangladesh’s own
coast. Thus, the equidistant lines with Myanmar in the eastern side and with
India in the western side lock Bangladesh’s maritime area within 130 nm from
its coast as against Bangladesh’s claim for 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone
(EEZ) and Continental Shelf beyond 200 nm. Bangladesh urged upon its neighbors
to agree to an alternative formula so that the cut-off could be avoided.
Unfortunately, Myanmar never considered any other alternative formula and
continued its adherence to equidistance, for which, an agreement for equitable
delimitation of maritime zones between the countries was never reached.

Judgment of Bangladesh-Myanmar maritime boundary delimitation case.

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