With a view to diverting world attention from Rohingya crisis, Myanmar might be contemplating provoking Bangladesh beyond undiplomatic norms.
And that is why experts opine that Myanmar attempted to include Bangladesh’s St Martin’s Island in their map as part of their territory. It is undiplomatic and aggressive move that will sour the bilateral relations between the countries. But no such evil plot will succeed because the world knows what they are doing against humanity.
“It’s clear that Myanmar government is under pressure over the Rohingya issue. The call for trial of Myanmar generals has added a new dimension to it. Tending to show Saint Martin’s as their territory is an attempt to relocate the concentration of Bangladesh government from Rohingya issue,” Prof Khalid Quddus, chairman of the Jahangirnagar University department of International Relations told Bangladesh Post.
Recently, the United Nations called for trial of the top Myanmar Generals for atrocities on the Rohingya community in Rakhine state.
In a latest development, UNHCR reported that Myanmar hasn’t created ‘conducive environment for the repatriation of the Rohingya people yet’.
“There is no doubt that Saint Martin’s is Bangladesh’s territory. So how they could [Myanmar] claim it. Bangladesh should stay watchful over it,” said Prof Khalid Quddus.
Recently, Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) recently uploaded the map where they drew St Martin’s with the colour they used for drawing the country’s north-western Rakhine State, depicting the island as part of their territory.
The site also counted the population of Saint Martin’s as Myanmar nationals.
On Saturday, the ministry of foreign affairs summoned Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka U Lwin Oo and handed him over a strong protest note over the map and demanded an immediate explanation from Naypyidaw about it.
Later, the Myanmar authority partially amended the map, according to foreign ministry.
“They kept the map colours unchanged but removed the population related information about our St Martin’s island that they were showing alongside the demographic data of their Rakhine state,” foreign ministry’s maritime unit secretary Rear Admiral (retd) M Khurshed Alam told the state news agency BSS on Sunday.
Earlier in the morning, M Khurshed Alam appeared before the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain the situation over the Saint Martin’s Island integration on Myanmar map.
The committee directed the foreign ministry to stay alert over the issue and to explore whether Myanmar could upload such false maps to other websites as well.
Standing Committee Chairman Dr Dipu Moni presided over the meeting, attended by foreign minister AH Mahmud Ali, state minister M Shahriar Alam, and members M Faruk Khan, Selim Uddin and Begum Mahjabin Khaled.
Sources said, the Saint Martin’s Island is historically a territory of Bangladesh.
On March 2017, Bangladesh also won the maritime boundary dispute against Myanmar through International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea verdict.
Officials confirmed that the Saint Martin’s Island was clearly mentioned as a part of Bangladesh and it’s an agreed matter.
Historically, Saint Martin’s Island was under British rule as a part of united India and Pakistan since 1937.
After India-Pakistan division in 1947, it became a part of Pakistan and finally after 1971, it remains as a part of sovereign Bangladesh.