India, Myanmar trying to grab Bangladesh maritime territories

sicMembers of the maritime boundary protection committee at a press conference in the city yesterday protesting expansion of territorial waters by India and Myanmar. NN photo

India and Myanmar are trying to grab a big portion of Bangladesh’s maritime territories to clutch country’s natural resources, alleged leaders of the National Committee for Protecting Maritime Territory and Resources of Bangladesh (NCPMTRB).

Addressing a press conference yesterday at National Press Club they underscored the need for strengthening the Bangladesh Navy and establishment of necessary institutions to protect the country’s maritime territories and its resources.

NCPMTRB leader Prof Anu Mohammad said Bangladesh was under a strong aggression of neighbouring India and Myanmar due to failure of previous governments and current one to perform their duties when the maritime issues came in front of them.

He alleged that the country was losing huge maritime territories to India and Myanmar, which is three times bigger than Bangladesh itself, because of negligence of the government.

Prof Anu said had the previous Bangladesh governments been able to handle the issue strongly neither India nor Myanmar could dare to proceed with this issue after 1982.

He said the Bangladesh delegations that visit different countries to discuss bilateral issues only put signatures on papers; even they hardly see the contents of any agreement. “They did never go for bargaining and thus they brought such a horrible situation for the country.”

Criticising the remarks of the Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka, he said the envoy might come up with even harsher words as the government had failed to reply to his remarks the way it should have been.

“Such remarks manifest how aggressive the India government is. We had hoped that our government would give a befitting reply, as it was highly insulting for the people of Bangladesh, but it didn’t,” he said.

Professor Sirajul Islam Chowdhury said Bangladesh was losing its control over its own sea as there is no one to raise voice against it.

“We need to mobilise public opinion both at home and abroad to stop India and Myanmar from grabbing Bangladesh’s maritime territories,” he said.

Prof Islam said politicians could not prove their patriotism, as they did not protest the bid.

NCPMTRB convener Engineer M Enamul Haque in his written speech said India and Myanmar would have to withdraw the claim over maritime territories, which were placed to the United Nations and demanded implementation of clauses of UNCLOS-III convention.

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