"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well." -Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bangladesh v. India Arbitration on the Territorial Dispute on the Bay of Bengal

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We had given links in our facebook page of news paper reports (here and here) pertaining to the final hearing between Bangladesh and India in the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding their claims over territorial boundaries in the Bay of Bengal. The Permanent Court of Arbitration page on the dispute can be accessed from here. The said page provides info on the arbitrators and the parties. 

The arbitration was invoked by Bangladesh in October 2009 under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).The final hearings commenced on 9 December 2013 and would have ended today (18 December 2013). 

The PCA Press Release on the dispute can be accessed from here. Links to documents related to the dispute as available in the PCA site can be found below:

Rules of Procedure

Procedural Order No. 1, dated August 28, 2013

Procedural Order No. 2, dated November 6, 2013

Procedural Order No. 3, dated November 20, 2013

Procedural Order No. 4, dated December 6, 2013

The dispute has a lot of economic implications to the respective States. A news report in the Telegraph states:
"At stake is the future livelihood of millions of Bengal and Odisha fishermen, for whom the settlement could open up miles of unchallenged open sea that both India and Bangladesh currently prevent each other from using for anything other than transit. As fish near the coast are depleted, fishermen are increasingly finding themselves forced to go further out to sea.
India in 2006 also discovered 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in a creek about 50km to the south of the mouth of the Hariabhanga, and within the contested region. This is almost twice what the entire Krishna-Godavari basin at the centre of the corporate battle between the Ambani siblings has been shown to hold to date."
We will keep readers updated on the developments in the arbitration. Further readings on the dispute can be accessed from here here and here.

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