Myanmar has come up with another false claim showing Bangladesh's St Martin's Island as part of its territory, prompting Dhaka to lodge a strong protest.
The government yesterday summoned Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka U Lwin Oo and strongly protested the incident.
Rear Admiral (retd) M Khurshed Alam, maritime affairs secretary at the foreign ministry, summoned the Myanmar envoy to his office in the afternoon and handed over a strongly worded protest note to him.
However, the Myanmar envoy said it was a “mistake” to show the St Martin's Island as part of his country's territory, a diplomat told UNB.
If anyone looks back at the history since 1937, he will find that the island had never been a part of Myanmar. Dhaka says there is an “ulterior motive”
behind drawing and sharing the map of Myanmar on websites.
St Martin's Island was part of British-India when Myanmar got separated in 1937. This means it was part of India, an official told UNB. “A clear line was drawn in between.”
The official said it was part of Pakistan in 1947 and it became part of independent Bangladesh after the Liberation War in 1971.
In 1974, it was clearly stated through a signed agreement that the island is part of Bangladesh.
“Even when Bangladesh won the maritime boundary dispute against Myanmar through International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in March 2012, it was clearly mentioned that the island is part of Bangladesh,” the official said.
A diplomatic source said Khurshed had nearly a one-hour meeting with the Myanmar envoy and the protest note was handed over to him with relevant documents.
He reportedly asked the Myanmar envoy why Myanmar carried out a survey in St Martin's Island. “You can't do it. On what basis did you do it?” Khurshed was quoted as telling the Myanmar envoy.
The Myanmar envoy was tight-lipped when the UNB correspondent approached him for knowing why he was summoned.
Myanmar reportedly spread the maps to two global websites showing St Martin's Island as part of its territory.
The Myanmar envoy pledged to discuss the matter with his government and convey Dhaka's concerns.
Earlier, Myanmar circulated a picture that claimed to show insurgents training. But it was actually a photograph of Bangladeshi freedom fighters during the Liberation War.
The Myanmar military later issued a rare apology acknowledging that two photographs it published in a book on the Rohingya crisis were “published incorrectly”.