Bangladesh-Burma (Myanmar) maritime boundary dispute escalates
The oil-rich Bay of Bengal has been contested territory for years.
Naval ships from Bangladesh and Burma (Myanmar) are facing off in the Bay of Bengal as a maritime boundary dispute between the two countries escalates. On Wednesday, a Bangladeshi diplomatic mission is expected to arrive in Rangoon (Yangon) to settle the matter peacefully.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Naval vessels from both countries are facing one another after the Burmese side reportedly began exploring in the area for oil and gas.
Bangladesh insists that the area lies well within its waters and has formally protested over the issue.
Bangladesh's foreign minister Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said he had warned Myanmar's envoy to Dhaka that "all steps would be taken to protect the sovereignty and territory of Bangladesh."
His comments came a day after Bangladesh summoned Myanmar's envoy to hand over a "strong protest note" over the reported intrusion of vessels from its southeastern neighbour to carry out oil exploration activities.
Foreign ministry officials have confirmed that Bangladesh rushed two warships and a naval patrol vessel to monitor Burmese exploration activities, reports Narinjara News, an independent news organization founded by Burmese refugees in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh sent three navy ships to disputed waters near Burma to protect its territory after Burmese ships intruded into the area to explore for gas and oil, stated a report of a Bangladesh official.
The report said, "Three naval ships of Bangladesh - BNS Abu Bakar, BNS Madhumati, and BNS Nirvoy - went to the spot challenging the Burmese ships."
The deployment came about after two naval warships escorted four Burmese ships into Bangladesh maritime territory to explore for oil and gas, ignoring Bangladesh navy warnings. Bangladesh has now positioned three ships at the scene in response to the encroachment.
The Myanmar government, meanwhile, said it would continue exploration in the Bay of Bengal, despite the territorial dispute with Bangladesh, a Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.
The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said Myanmar has formally lodged a complaint over an alleged intrusion of Bangladesh Navy boats.
"We will not stop our exploration activities, which are inside Myanmar waters," the official said. "We have warned Bangladesh against the intrusion of their naval vessels into our territory."