Disputed channels rule first day's talks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 16, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 16, 2008

Maritime Border Discussions

Disputed channels rule first day's talks

On the first day of Bangladesh-India Maritime Delimitation Talks that resumed yesterday in the capital after 28 years, the issue of determining the main flow of Hariabhanga channels featured prominently as delegates discussed the starting point of demarcation.
Tied to the determination of the main flow of Hariabhanga channels, is the decades-old dispute between the two neighbouring countries regarding jurisdiction over South Talpatty Island that formed the channels.
Experts of Bangladesh claimed that the main channel of the Hariabhanga River is flowing through the west side of South Talpatty while their Indian counter parts claimed the eastern channel is the main flow.
Sources said when Bangladesh and India talked last time about the maritime boundary 28 years ago, the major issue was determining the main channel of the Hariabhanga River following emergence of South Talpatty, which is called Purbasha or New Moor Island by the Indians.
Back then the two countries agreed to settle the issue soon after studying additional information exchanged between the two governments. But things did not progress as planned.
This time around the talk is progressing quite cordially, which the officials of both sides are expecting will end fruitfully.
"We've just started the talk and the discussion has been very cordial," said MAK Mahmud, additional secretary to the foreign ministry who is leading the 15-member Bangladesh delegation.
The meeting was of expert committees and the discussion was very technical involving methods and principles of maritime delimitation.
A meeting source said one of the major issues on the first day was determining the starting point of the sea boundary.
While determining the border between India and erstwhile united Pakistan, Mr Radcliff said if there is a river in the border then the mid-current of the river will be the borderline.
Since independence, Bangladesh has been identifying its border according to the Radcliff decision.
South Talpatty is an island still in formation, visible only during low tides, emerging in the estuary of the Hariabhanga River, the bordering river in the south-western part of the country.
Since the beginning of the maritime border dispute between the two countries, India has been disputing Bangladesh's claim that the main flow of the border river lay to the west of the island.
The three day expert level bilateral talk will end tomorrow which is being held at the marine cell of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital.
The Indian delegation is comprised of seven members.

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