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India hopes to double its EEZ

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences Ashwani Kumar on Saturday expressed confidence that the United Nations Commission on the Law of the Sea would soon accept its claim of almost doubling its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which could give it access to a larger wealth of oil, natural gas and other off-shore resources.

India last year submitted to the Commission its claim to extend its coastal EEZ from 200 nautical miles to 350 nautical miles.

“We are among a few countries which have been able to give sedimentary and scientific evidence to lay claim over an extended continental shelf around it,” Mr. Kumar said on the sidelines of an event at the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) here.

“We presented our claim before the U.N. commission on the Law of the Sea last year, along with the scientific data collected over a decade, and are confident that it will be approved soon,” he added.

Under a provision of U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, a coastal country can seek an extension of its EEZ beyond the approved 200 nautical miles if it can demonstrate that the continental shelf of the country extends beyond that distance. The approval can be given up to a maximum of 350 nautical miles.

India produced data spanning over 6,000 pages, which were collected over almost a decade.

At the event, the Minister, who is on a five-day tour of scientific institutions in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Goa, interacted with Indian scientists stationed at Indian missions at the Antarctic through video-conferencing.

The claim, if ratified by the UNCLOS, would help India in exploring the area and exploiting oil, natural gas and mineral resources in the extended area too. The project was started in 1999 with a team of 60 scientists from different national institutions.

Asked about the on-going controversy over the Lokpal Bill, he asserted that the United Progressive Alliance was committed to place the Bill before Parliament in the coming monsoon session. “I hope the civil society members would not put any obstacles.”

Noting that the fight against corruption was not an issue of government versus the civil society, he alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was seeking to use it as a means for “backdoor entry.” The UPA and the government have been taking several steps to counter the menace of corruption.


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Printable version | May 15, 2022 11:02:56 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-hopes-to-double-its-eez/article2096905.ece