Part B Commentary on Judgments and Awards in Maritime Boundary Delimitation Disputes, 23 Bangladesh v. India (Award of the Arbitral Tribunal, 7 July 2014)
Stephen Fietta, Robin Cleverly
- Coastal states — Continental shelf — Delimitation — Straits — Territorial sea — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea)
The case described in this chapter concerned a dispute between Bangladesh and India over the location of the land boundary terminus and delimitation of the maritime boundary between them in the Bay of Bengal. The parties’ coastlines in the area where their land boundary meets the Bay of Bengal are highly indented and unstable, with several major river channels flowing into the sea. The UNCLOS Tribunal’s Award complements the judgment of ITLOS rendered just over two years beforehand in the Bangladesh/Myanmar case. A notable procedural aspect of the Bangladesh/India case was the tribunal’s decision to conduct a five-day site visit to the delimitation area, including a viewing of all the base points proposed by the parties. The tribunal’s conclusions, the chapter further argues, about the irrelevance of coastal instability, climate change, and sea-level rise for the purposes of identifying the appropriate delimitation methodologies, base points, and relevant circumstances are also notable.