The Jakarta Post
Indonesia's chief border treaty negotiator is seeking to persuade India to begin the delimitation of shared maritime boundaries that have effectively been left on the back burner since 1977.
The Foreign Ministry's director general for legal affairs and treaties, Damos Agusman, is on a two-day mission in the Indian capital of New Delhi to raise the issue of delimiting the maritime neighbors' exclusive economic zones (EEZs).
The negotiations would provide both nations with clarity over their maritime rights, including fishing.
The senior diplomat struck an informal conversation with VD Sharma of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as he tried to convince his counterpart that both nations needed to delimit their EEZ on top of an existing agreement over the continental shelf.
Damos said the delimitation was to ensure that both countries' fishing rights – which extended further out than its right to explore the seabed for oil and gas – would have a sound legal basis.
"In 1974-1977, the EEZ regime did no yet exist, and [as] the continental shelf and the EEZ are two different legal regimes, both countries need to delimit their EEZ boundaries through a specific agreement," he told The Jakarta Post in a message late on Thursday.
Indonesia and India have had an agreement on their continental shelf since 1974, which was extended with a 1977 treaty to include the Andaman Sea. The area has been the site of regular Indian-Indonesian naval exercises since 1991. Both treaties have been incorporated into Indonesian law.
India and Indonesia have common boundaries in the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea. (ebf)