India Opposes Sri Lanka’s Maritime Boundary Request

India Opposes Sri Lanka's Maritime Boundary Expansion Request over its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

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India and Sri Lanka are currently engaged in a maritime dispute that underscores the complexities of their bilateral relations and the strategic considerations underpinning their respective policies in the region. The issue arises from overlapping claims in the extension of the continental shelf, reflecting the strategic maneuvers aligned with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’.

Sources close to the matter have indicated that Sri Lanka’s request to extend its continental shelf beyond the exclusive economic zone faces challenges due to overlapping claims asserted by India. Since Sri Lanka submitted its request to the UN in 2009, negotiations have ensued to define the outer limits of its continental shelf. However, approval from the UN High Commission remains pending.

While official statements have not been issued, reports suggest that Sri Lankan authorities raised concerns during recent diplomatic exchanges with Indian counterparts. The visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jayashankar to Sri Lanka included discussions on this matter, with commitments made to further explore the issue.

In a related development, India’s recent application to explore the Afanasy Nikitin Seamount, known for its cobalt-rich deposits in the central Indian Ocean, has added complexity. The seamount lies within a region also claimed by Sri Lanka, highlighting strategic interests amid global shifts towards green energy technologies.

Cobalt, an essential component for electric vehicles and batteries, underscores the economic and strategic significance of the disputed area.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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