(June 23, 2010) A delimitation case concerning the maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Burma in the Bay of Bengal has been filed with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The dispute between the two countries originated in November 2008, when the Burmese government sold “blocks” of sea, claimed by Bangladesh for gas exploration, to a South Korean company. In May 2009, Bangladesh's government asked for arbitration in the dispute.
The dispute was expected to be resolved in January 2010 through bilateral negotiations. However, neither of the parties withdrew from the case filed with ITLOS. The bilateral negotiations failed in March 2010 when Burma proposed to draw a new line, which was unacceptable to Bangladesh, to demarcate the maritime boundary between the two countries. The Bangladeshi oil and gas authority has forbidden exploration in blocks adjacent to Burmese or Indian waters until the dispute is resolved.
It is now up to ITLOS to resolve the dispute, based on the evidence provided by the two countries. (Jared Bissinger, The Maritime Boundary Dispute Between Bangladesh and Myanmar: Motivations, Potential Solutions, and Implications, 10 ASIA POLICY 103-142 (July 2010), available at http://nbr.org/publications/asia_policy/AP10/AP10_D_Maritime.pdf.)