Pak­istan’ stri­umphant leap in In­dian Ocean

The Diplomatic Insight - - News - Muham­mad Azam Khan

Pak­istan re­cently took a gi­ant tri­umphant leap in the In­dian Ocean where it’s well-re­garded claim over the con­ti­nen­tal shelf was unan­i­mously en­dorsed by the United Na­tions. It was in 1995 drew the at­ten­tion of na­tional author­i­ties and other stake­hold­ers to the strate­gic im­por­tance of con­ti­nen­tal shelf. How­ever, it was not un­til April case with United Na­tions Com­mis­sion on the Lim­its of the Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf (UNCLCS). Play­ing a lead role and with Na­tional In­sti­tute of Oceanog­ra­phy (NIO) and Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (MoST) in tow, the navy pre­pared a force­ful case on be­half of Pak­istan. Pro­tracted dis­cus­sions, pre­sen­ta­tions and mul­ti­ple in­ter­ac­tive ses­sions be­tween Pak­istan’s tech­ni­cal del­e­ga­tion andUNCLCS Sub-Com­mis­sion, con­tin­ued from Au­gust 2013 on­wards. del­e­ga­tion was de­liv­ered be­fore a full 21 mem­ber UN Com­mis­sion on 10th March 2015. The com­pelling and per­sua­sive ar­gu­mentsand cred­i­ble re­sponse to pointed ques­tions, led to a unan­i­mous endorsement of the case by the Com­mis­sion in favour of Pak­istan. With the ap­proval, Pak­istan now In­dian Ocean to have suc­cess­fully ac­com­plished ex­ten­sion in outer lim­its of con­ti­nen­tal shelf. It her­alds Pak­istan into a new era of prospec­tive eco­nomic bounty of strate­gic value. The­favourable ad­ju­di­ca­tion has meant an ex­ten­sion in sea lim­its from 200 to 350 nau­ti­cal miles be­stow­ing Pak­istan an ad­di­tional 50,000 sq km of sea area with ex­clu­sive rights for ex­plo­ration, ex­ploita­tion of sea bed re­sources. Pak­istan’s to­tal area for mar­itime un­der­tak­ings hence­forth en­larges from the pre­vi­ous 240,000 sq km to 290,000 sq km, sec­ond only to the coun­try’s largest province, Balochis­tan. The de­bate on ex­pand­ing ju­ris­dic­tional claims of coastal and is­land na­tions and in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions from 1973 through 1982 re­sulted in what has come to be uni­ver­sally known as the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS-82). Also called the Law of the Sea Treaty, UNCLOS-82 was adopted in 10 De­cem­ber 1982 and be­came ef­fec­tive on 16th Novem­ber 1994. As of Oc­to­ber 166 state par­ties in­clud­ing Pak­istan. The­Con­ven­tion, a con­sti­tu­tion for oceans, is the bedrock le­gal in­stru­ment that un­der­pinssharedle­gal or­der across the global mar­itime com­mons.It sets forth a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work for gov­ern­ing the oceans, seas and straits, as well as deep seabed min­ing. the rights and obli­ga­tions of states within those zones, the bound­aries of na­tional ju­ris­dic­tion, over and abovead­min­is­tra­tion of min­eral re­sources be­yond those­lim­its. The pro­vi­sions of the Con­ven­tion cod­ify ex­ist­ing laws and prac­tice­sand are deemed the cus­tom­ary in­ter­na­tional law. It ad­dresses num­ber of themes in­clud­ing nav­i­ga­tional and eco­nomic rights, pol­lu­tion of the seas, con­ser­va­tion rights of land-locked or ge­o­graph­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged states, piracy, and more. UNCLOS-82 fur­ther­more pro­videsalter­na­tive pro­cesses for for es­tab­lish­ing spe­cial­ized treaties, or­ga­ni­za­tions, and ac­tiv­i­ties. The on the high seas, the UN ‘Fish Stock Agree­ment’; the op­er­a­tion of In­ter­na­tional Seabed Au­thor­ity (ISA)for man­ag­ingseabed min­er­als, im­ple­men­ta­tion of se­cu­rity and en­vi­ron­men­tal pacts ne­go­ti­ated un­der In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­ga­ni­za­tion (IMO) like Basel con­ven­tion which reg­u­lates and con­trols trans-bound­ary move­ments of haz­ardous wastes; their dis­posal, or se­cu­rity part­ner­ships akin to the Pro­lif­er­a­tion Se­cu­rity Ini­tia­tive arefew ex­am­ples. Of the 193 mem­ber states of United Na­tions, 147 are coastal states. Un­der UNCLOS-82 each is au­tho­rized to main­tain a 12 nau­ti­cal miles ter­ri­to­rial zone, an ad­ja­cent con­tigu­ous zone up to 24 nau­ti­cal miles and an ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone ex­tend­ing to 200 nau­ti­cal miles from base­line. Ter­ri­to­rial wa­ter zone is con­sid­ered part of a coun­try’s ter­ri­tory for all le­gal pur­poses. Ven­tures like ex­plo­ration, ex­ploita­tion, de­vel­op­ment, man­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion of all liv­ing and non-liv­ing re­sources as well as pro­duc­ing energy from tides, winds, cur­rents and the sun, can all be un­der­taken herein. For­eign ves­sels may how­ever, claim the right

of in­no­cent pas­sage through this zone. UNCLOS-82 al­soguar­an­tees the right to transit pas­sage through in­ter­na­tional straits and the right to ex­er­cise high seas free­dom in ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone. 26th Fe­bru­ary 1997 be­com­ing the 113th state to do so. The Con­ven­tion en­tered into force for Pak­istan on 28th March 1997. Un­der the pro­vi­sions of UNCLOS, United Na­tions also set up a Com­mis­sion on the Lim­its of Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf (UNCLCS). As con­ti­nen­tal shelf is sea area where a coun­try has sov­er­eign rights for ex­ploit­ing non-liv­ing re­sources and sub­soil, plus sed­i­men­tary species. Pak­istan’s en­tire mar­itime area is re­sources rich zone.The coun­try’scur­rent be worth USD 1.2 bil­lion, with ex­ports fetch­ing roughly USD 240 mil­lion an­nu­ally. The in­dus­try’s con­tri­bu­tion to na­tional GDP is about 1 per­cent. In ad­di­tion, bi­o­log­i­cal re­sources like al­gae (sea­weeds), man­groves, va­ri­ety Pak­istan. The liveli­hood and econ­omy of coastal com­mu­ni­ties is di­rectly tied to these re­sources. In­dian ocean po­ten­tial of off­shore hy­dro­car­bons and use­able min­eral de­posits is said to be much more than the con­ti­nen­tal. It in­cludes deep seabed re­sources like iron, man­ganese nod­ules and crusts, oil, gas and gas hy­drates with last hav­ing all the trap­pings of evolv­ing into use­ful source of clean energy. The ocean is be­lieved to hold large quan­ti­ties of poly­met­talic nod­ules-small min­eral rich rocks-con­tain­ing nickel, cobalt, iron and man­ganese. The favourable res­o­lu­tion of the con­ti­nen­tal shelf is­sue now pro­vides Pak­istan a dis­tinct eco­nomic ad­van­tage in the re­gion. Once com­pre­hen­sive ge­o­log­i­cal sur­vey and map­ping of sur­face and sub-sur­face is com­pleted, the coun­try will be able to ac­crue tremen­dous eco­nomic ad­van­tages. That said, the chief­sen­tinel pro­tect­ing mar­itime in­ter­ests of any na­tion state is none other than a navy-the mil­i­tary arm of na­tional mar­itime seg­ment. A key dif­fer­ence that dis­tin­guishes land and air power from seapower is that while po­ten­tial, the lat­ter takes into ac­count the eco­nomic di­men­sion be­sides the mil­i­tary ca­pac­ity at sea. In an age has be­come an in­dis­pens­able need world over. Pak­istan will have to make some pro­found in­vest­ment in the mar­itime sec­tor par­tic­u­larly Pak­istan navy to pro­tect and pre­serve the coun­try’s ex­pand­ing oceanic in­ter­ests.

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