Bangladesh yesterday lodged an amended submission to the UN on the limits of its outer continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal.
Once approved by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) of the UN, the country will be able to explore and exploit natural resources on the seabed and subsoil in those areas.
Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador Rabab Fatima, handed over the submission to Dmitry Gonchar, acting director of the Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, in New York.
Rabab Fatima expressed her expectation that the amended submission will be included in the agenda of the Commission in its next session.
The original submission to the CLCS was made on February 25, 2011. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the maritime boundaries of Bangladesh with Myanmar and India were delimited in 2012 and 2014, through an international adjudication process.
Settling a longstanding India-Bangladesh maritime boundary dispute, a Hague-based international court awarded Bangladesh 19,467 square kilometres out of 25,602 sq km disputed area in the Bay of Bengal.
On the other hand, the German-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea sustained Bangladesh's claim to 200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zone and territorial rights in the Bay of Bengal against Myanmar's claim.
The amended submission has been made to reflect the successful outcomes of those international processes.
As per rule, a sub-commission will subsequently be formed to examine the information provided by Bangladesh and make necessary recommendations on the limits of Bangladesh's outer continental shelf in the Bay of Bengal.
Admiral Khurshed Alam (Retd), secretary at the Maritimes Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who led an expert team to prepare the amended submission, said there is no problem for exploring and exploiting the resources in the Bangladesh's territories in the Bay of Bengal after the international court's verdict.
However, recommendations from the CLCS means endorsement of the UN. In such a case, no one can raise any question when Bangladesh goes for exploration in the sea in its territory, he told The Daily Star.