Dhaka: A United Nations court has ruled that most of the disputed 25,602 sq km exclusive economic zone and territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal belong to Bangladesh.
In a press briefing, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali has welcomed the ruling, saying it was a “victory for both sides”.
“The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) verdict awarded us with 19,467 sq km out of 25,000 sq km disputed area with India in the Bay of Bengal,” he said at a press briefing.
The official said the island, known as New Moore Island to the Indians and South Talpatti Island to the Bangladeshis, has fallen in India’s part of the Bay of Bengal.
The Bangladeshi government received the copy of the verdict from the PCA on the maritime boundary dispute between Dhaka and New Delhi, Xinhua reported.
Dhaka lodged the case against New Delhi with the PCA in October 2009 as both the countries failed to come to a solution in the past decades since Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
The court conveyed its verdict to both the parties but imposed an embargo on making it public before 24 hours as part of its rules.
The PCA verdict is binding to all parties and there is no option for appeal.
The Bangladeshi minister called the verdict a victory for both countries and said: “This would help to take the relationship between the two neighbours one step forward.”
The PCA delivered the verdict after nearly five years of arguments and counter-arguments by the two nations, spot visit by judges and examination of survey reports.
The court concluded its hearings Dec 18, 2013.
The PCA is a permanent judicial body established by the UN to facilitate arbitration and other forms of resolution of dispute between states.
Earlier, Bangladesh won a landmark verdict against Myanmar March 14, 2012, at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea.
Through that verdict, the country sustained its claim to 200 nautical miles and exclusive economic and territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal.