Bangladesh to protest India over ships in its territorial waters

The spot lies southwest of Bangladesh's southwestern Mongla port in a block earmarked by Bangladesh for exploration of gas and oil.

Bangladesh to protest India over ships in its territorial waters

Bangladesh said on Friday it would protest to India about Indian ships conducting a survey in an area in the Indian Ocean Dhaka states falls in its territorial waters.

The spot lies southwest of Bangladesh's southwestern Mongla port in a block earmarked by Bangladesh for exploration of gas and oil.

The vessels moved towards Indian waters after protests by a Bangladesh navy vessel that located the intruding ships during a routine patrol, but came back afterwards, the ministry said.

Bangladesh sent a navy frigate to the area, but Indian ships refused to pull away, saying they were within Indian waters, a foreign ministry official said. "An Indian survey ship was seen conducting a survey in the deep sea block 14 in the maritime area claimed by Bangladesh. The survey ship was aided by two other support vessels," a foreign ministry statement said.

"Bangladesh will lodge an official protest with India on Saturday," the statement said. "Bangladesh will ask for postponement of any exploratory or development activity in the area till such time the maritime boundary between the two countries is settled by mutual agreement."

Bangladesh sent war ships to a similar disputed sea patch in November when Myanmar started exploring gas and oil.

Myanmar later withdrew its vessels and agreed to negotiate the issue with Bangladesh. Both countries said they would need more talks to settle the dispute.

Relations between Bangladesh and India are usually friendly but they have occasional disputes, mainly related to trespassing and smuggling through their 4,000-km (2,500-mile) porous border.

Reuters
Last Mod: 26 Aralık 2008, 18:12
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