'Bangladesh should strongly uphold maritime dispute in international forum'

FE ONLINE REPORT | Published: November 27, 2021 20:44:49 | Updated: November 28, 2021 18:31:57

'Bangladesh should strongly uphold maritime dispute in international forum'

Terming that fixing the sea territorial boundaries with India on the continental shelf is a settled issue, speakers at a function said India's new claim is a violation of international law.

Bangladesh needs to build global public opinion to get a verdict, they said, adding that if we do not take a strong position, Bangladesh will have to lose again like in 2014.

They came up with such opinions at a discussion at Jatiya Press Club on Saturday.

 Nagorik Forum organised the discussion titled "Sovereignty at sea: How far is Bangladesh in legal rights".

Former minister for Water Resources and also Vice Chairman of the BNP Major (Retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, Bir Bikram were present as the chief guests at the discussion meeting.

Dhaka University teacher, geopolitical and marine expert Professor Dr Abdur Rob was the special guest.

Abdullahil Masood, Chairman of the Citizens' Forum, presented the keynote address on 'Sea Resources of Infinite Possibilities'.

While presenting the keynote paper, Masood said, "About 95 per cent of the world's fauna is in the oceans and only about 5.0 per cent of the fauna we see on Earth. Therefore, in the future, this sea will become the only major source of food, protein and oxygen for life on earth”.

Bangladesh is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Geographically, no other country in the world has such a privileged area.

About 90 per cent of the world's ships pass through the Asia-Pacific region. Once the construction of Matarbari deep sea port is completed, a few more countries will be able to use it. Then our economy will be stronger with port fees. Only the ship breaking and ship building sector can earn the equivalent of the current GDP of Bangladesh from a single sector.

He also mentioned that Bangladesh's maritime boundary dispute with India was settled in 2014. Both countries saw it as a victory.

“However, Bangladesh has lost a large part of the sea. That question was still raised in Bangladesh. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has complied with the decision of the International Court of Justice and fixed the sea boundary”, he added.

According to an article, India also issued a gazette on the maritime boundaries of Bangladesh and India after the settlement through an international tribunal. In this verdict, both Bangladesh and India praised the verdict of the International Tribunal.

It also stated that after demarcating the border with India, Bangladesh amended the baseline in 2015 in compliance with the judgment of the International Court of Justice. India has not amended their baseline since the court ruling.

The problem of grey areas remains as India has not amended the baseline. If India complies with the court order and amends their baseline, there will be no more problems, it added.

Citizens' Forum thinks that raising disputes now means obstructing the extraction of marine resources.

Speaking as the chief guest, Major (Retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said the world public opinion must be formed to protect the sovereignty of Bangladesh through water and land.

"We are not enemies of India," he added. But we want to keep our resources. we will not compromise on the sovereignty of the land and water boundaries of Bangladesh. there is no democratic government in the country today, we are losing in all areas”.

Professor Dr Abdur Rob said "New lands of Bangladesh are being created by siltation from rivers and seas. Bangladesh's lands are expanding. Our borders are expanding to the sea. But India is planning not to allow our land to Expand. We are land locked by India. Now India is trying to lack us at Sea".

General Secretary of Citizens Forum Parvez Hossain moderated the discussion, according to a press release.


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