India Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Agreement

India and Sri Lanka recently signed a historic maritime boundary agreement on July 23, 2020, marking a milestone in the relationship between the two neighboring countries. This agreement will put to rest a longstanding dispute over the delimitation of the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of both countries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal.

The agreement comes after 45 rounds of talks between the two countries dating back to 1974. The issue of the maritime boundary has been a contentious matter, with both countries claiming overlapping areas in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Strait, and the Bay of Bengal. The dispute has led to several incidents of illegal fishing, smuggling, and even the arrest of fishermen from both countries.

The new agreement establishes the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, while also resolving a long-standing dispute over the Katchatheevu island, which both countries claim. The agreement grants India sovereignty over the island, while allowing Sri Lankan fishermen to continue to fish in the surrounding waters.

The signing of this agreement is a significant step towards enhancing bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka. It will reduce tensions along the maritime boundary and promote cooperation in the fishing industry, oil exploration, and other maritime activities. Furthermore, this agreement aligns with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which lays down the legal framework for establishing maritime boundaries and resolving disputes.

The maritime boundary agreement is also expected to have a positive impact on the region`s security and stability. The Indian Ocean is a strategic waterway that connects the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Therefore, ensuring the safe and secure movement of shipping lanes in the region is crucial for global trade. The agreement will help deter illegal activities in the region, including piracy, smuggling, and human trafficking.

In conclusion, the India-Sri Lanka maritime boundary agreement is a significant achievement for both countries, contributing to their long-standing relations while ensuring peace and security in the region. The agreement is a testament to the benefits of diplomatic mechanisms in resolving disputes and promoting cooperation.