Bangladesh Celebrates Sea Victory Over Burma

Dhaka: Bangladesh celebrated its victory over Burma in a sea boundary dispute on 28 April in front of the parliament building in Dhaka and honored Prime Minister Sheik Hasina in the ceremony.

Prime minister Sheikh-Hassina receives a replica of a boat at a civic reception.

The ceremony was organized by the Bangladesh National Citizen’s Committee and had the participation of thousands of citizens to celebrate the country’s recent victory over Burma in the dispute.

Chairman of the National Citizen’s Committee, Prof. Zillur Rahman Siddiqui, presented a crest to Premier Sheik Hasina on behalf of the people honoring her leadership in the government for security victory in the maritime dispute with Burma.

“Our national leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led our country during its Liberation War and his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also led our country in its maritime boundary case with [Burma], and under her righteous leadership the country has achieved victory in the case. Such achievements of the father and daughter are unique in world history,” said one of the organizers during a speech at the ceremony.

According to the recent verdict of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), Bangladesh has exclusive economic and territorial rights for 200 miles into the Bay of Bengal, a substantial share of the outer continental shelf beyond 200 miles, and a full 12-mile territorial area around St. Martin Island.

While speaking at the ceremony,Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “This is not my victory, but the victory of the people who have supported my government of the next generation.”

She also expressed thanks to her foreign minister, Dipu Moni, the officials involved, the Bangladesh Navy, and others for their efforts to bring the country’s maritime case with Burma to the ITLOS and for gaining victory.

Bangladesh’s famous singers and dancers attended the ceremony and entertained the crowd with their performances to celebrate the sea victory as well.

The Burmese regime stated that the ITLOS settled the case with a fair judgement.

Bangladesh and Burma had two minister-level and six expert-level bilateral negotiations for delimitation of the territorial sea in the Bay of Bengal between the two countries from 1974 to 1986, but they had to suspend negotiations without reaching any agreement in July 1986. In November 2008, when Burma tried to carry out gas exploration in the disputed sea, the two countries had escalating tension with naval confrontations, but the conflict was resolved without fighting when they agreed to solve the dispute using peaceful means. They held four expert-level meetings in the period from March 2008 to July 2009, but they were still unable to solve their dispute and agreed to bring it to the UN’s ITLOS. Their dispute was finally settled by the jurisdiction of the ITLOS on 14 March, 2012.