Bangladesh wins Bay of Bengal dispute

Bangladesh has been awarded more than four-fifths of an offshore area sprawling over 25,000 square kilometres in the Bay of Bengal, putting an end to a lengthy maritime dispute with neighbour India, according to a report.

The verdict by a United Nations tribunal is likely to open up new offshore areas for exploration for the winner.

Bangladeshi authorities has expressed satisfaction over the verdict, which they see as rewarding for both neighbours, Reuters reported.

"It is the victory of friendship and a win-win situation for the peoples of Bangladesh and India," the news wire quoted Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali as saying in Dhaka.

The dispute had earlier stopped Bangladesh from signing a production sharing agreement with Tullow Oil for shallow-water Block SS-08-05 as it overlapped with part-Block NEC-DWN-2004/2 that India awarded to Australia’s Santos.

The Indian block also overlapped Bangladesh’s blocks SS-08-09 and SS-08-14.

The boundary dispute with India was cited as the key reason behind lacklustre interest in Bangladesh’s latest offshore licensing round.

Bangladesh has already met with success in its earlier UNCLOS arbitration regarding a similar dispute with Myanmar.

In 2012, the UN arbitrator ruled that the nations should retain sovereignty over their respective continental shelves and, while ruling in favour of Myanmar’s method of measuring the maritime border, handed more sea area to Bangladesh.

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