the international law of the sea had come to be based on the basic principle of "freedom of the seas". Beyond the narrow coastal strip of territorial waters, the seas could be freely used by all nations for fishing and for navigation. Coastal states used to be content with exclusive rights in their narrow belt of territorial waters. The discovery of petroleum and natural gas in the shallow waters of the continental shelf led the United States to issue the Truman Proclamation in 1945, which claimed sovereign rights over the resources of the continental shelf adjacent to its coast. Around the same time, coastal states found that the fishing areas near their coasts were being poached by larger and better equipped fishing ships of distant foreign states. Both these developments, combined with the emergence of newly independent states after the decolonisation of Asia and Africe, led to a spate of unilateral claims by the coastal states to extend national jurisdiction over large adjacent sea areas to protect their fishery resources. On attaining independence in 1947, India had been content to proclaim the traditional territorial sea of three miles. In view of the above developments, India issued four presidential notifications to safeguard its interests: (a) On 30 August 1955, India claimed full and exclusive sovereign rights over the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf adjoining the coast but beyond territorial waters. Neither the depth nor the distance from the coastline was indicated. (b) On 22 March 1956, India claimed Territorial Waters of six miles from appropriate baselines. (c) On 29 November 1956, India claimed a Conservation Zone for fisheries up to a distance of one hundered miles from the outer limit of territorial waters. (d) On 3 December 1956, India claimed a Contiguous Zone. < Several other developments were also taking place. The USA and the Soviet Union were unable to agree on the width of territorial waters - the Soviet Union wanted twelve miles whilst the USA wanted only three miles. Technological developments in the industrialised West began to make it possible to extract oil and gas from the seabed. The newly independent nations of Asia and Africa began to feel that the International Law of the Sea would be exploited to their disadvantage. To sort out all these matters, the first United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS-1) was convened in 1958. UNCLOS 1 - 1958

many countries unilaterally extended their offshore jurisdiction.the ancillary physical. . The four Conventions were:.UNCLOS 1 was able to codify the traditional law. This failed to gain the required two thirds majority for its acceptance. . UNCLOS 2 . land locked states and archipelagic states. custons. African states like Nigeria. The Second Conference.Certain states contested the rights of passage through straits used for international navigation like the Straits of Gibraltar. . UNCLOS 1 completely failed to agree on:. UNCLOS-2 attempted to extend the jurisdiction of coastal states over territorial waters to six miles.The precise width of the Territorial Sea (three miles or twelve miles) and the extent of the Exclusive Fisheries Zone.the sovereignty of coastal states in the territorial sea. The South American countries reaffirmed their earlier claim of their territorial waters extending two hundred miles from the coast. . The acceptance by UNCLOS 1 of the Continental Shelf convention enabled the countries bordering the North Sea to divide the sea area for extracting oil and gas. sanitary and immigration rights of coastal states in a Contiguous Zone. It adopted what came to be known as the Geneva Conventions on the Law of the Sea.The prior authorisation and/or notification of the passage of foreign warships through the territorial sea of a coastal state. was therefore convened in 1960 to resolve these issues.1960. Congo.Land based mineral producers tried to carve out for themselves as much as they could of the newly found seabed mineral resources. . After UNCLOS 2 failed to achieve agreement on the width of the territorial sea.the freedom of the seas as long conveived. UNCLOS 2. with an additional six miles as an Exclusive Fishing Zone.The rights of coalitions of coastal states. Passage of Warships Through the Territorial Sea. The UNCLOS 1 participants remained divided on several issues: . Mauritus and Ghana also extended their territorial sea to distances much beyond 12 miles. . Hormuz and Malacca.

India's interest in the mining of polymetalic nodules from the seabed derived from its long term strategy for metals like nickel. Offshore Oil and Gas. In subsequent years. India resiled from this position. the Indian Government had initiated a programme of scientific investigation and evaluation of the manganese nodule resources in the Indian Ocean. the UN General Assembly constituted a 42 member "Seabed Committee" on the peaceful use of the seabed. The Seabed Committee. On 12 September. In the early 1970. India sought only prior notification for the innocent passage of foreign warships through territorial waters. Krishna and Palk Bay basins. 1967. beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. as also gas in the Andaman Offshore. In 1968.At UNCLOS 1. As this requirement was not accepted and therefore not included in the 1958 conventions on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone. As a growing maritime nation interested in the freedom of navigation both for itself and the international community. India declined to retify all four Geneva Conventions. India has proposed that the passage of foreign warships through the territorial sea of a coastal state should be subject to prior authoritisation and notification to the coastal state. the ocean floor and the subsoil thereof. copper and manganese. technological. thereby rendering the 1958 Conventions outmoded. During the 1960s political. India had discovered oil and gas in Bombay High and promising fields were being forecast in the Godavari. Advances in seabed exploitation technology made it possible to exploit the seabed much beyond a depth of two hundred metres. This was largely a reaction to Pakistan's extension of her territorial waters from three to twelve miles. DEVELOPMENTS AFTER 1965 India's Extension of territorial Waters. Seabed Mining. In December 1970. India extended its territorial waters to twelve miles. The Declaration stated that these areas and their resources are the common heritage of mankind and shall be subject to an international regime as established by an international treaty. rather than an act of maritime policy. . cobalt. The deployment of submarine launched ballistic missiles and worldwide apprehensions of a competitive scramble to achieve predominant control over the seabed led the United Nations to discuss the need to evolve means for the peaceful use of the oceans. the General Assembly adopted the "Declaration of Principles" governing the Seabed. By the early 1970's. exonomic and naval developments began to change the situation.

At UNCLOS 3. India advocated from the baselines. India also made specific proposals on the requirement of prior notification for warships passing through the territorial sea. the conduct of marine scientific research by foreign research agencies.With a view to establish and equitable international regime for the exploitation of seabed resources.1973 TO 1982. (d) To secure the free mobility of naval war ships. an EEZ of two hundred miles and a continental shelf to the outer edge of the geological continental margin. UNCLOS 3 . (e) To preserve the marine environment in the sea areas adjacent to its coast. UNCLOS 3 aimed to define an agreed set of rules to govern the use of the seas which would strike a fair balance between: (a) those who considered that a coastal state should have no right whatsoever over the living resources of the seas beyond a territorial sea of twelve miles and (b) others who maintained that a coastal state should have full or limited sovereignty over the sea and its resources out to an Exclusive Exonomic Zone of two hundred nautical miles. enlargement of safety zones around offshore oil rigs. It took UNCLOS 3 nine years of discussions to adopt the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on 30 April 1982. designation of special areas for the protection of the resources located therein (as for example the coral lagoons in the Lakshadweep where tankers could run aground) and several other proposals. (b) To achieve archipelagic status for the Andaman and Nicobar island group and the Lakshadweep island group which between them. the UN General Assembly convened the third conference. UNCLOS 3 in 1973. comprised over 1280 islands and islets. its basic national interests were:(a) To obtain assurance of smooth and free navigation though traditionally used waters and straits used for international nabigation. because the channels of navigation passed near its long coastline. . Thereafter this convention took twelve years to formally come into force on 16 November 1984. (c) To protect essential strategic and security interests in the waters around its coast. with a coastline of over 64000 kilometers. a territorial sea of twelve miles. India's stand at was that as a developing country centrally located in the Indian Ocean. The acceptance of this concept of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) was a landmark contribution of UNCLOS 3. (f) To regulate within its EEZ.

There is therefore no provision in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea requiring prior notification or authorisation for the passage of foreign warships through the territorial waters of a coastal state. There was vehement opposition from the USA and the Soviet Union to prior notification before warships transited through territorial waters. after having fulfilled the criteria stipulated in the Convention. . It adopted: .The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea. the distance between the . The major ones were: (a) Passage of Warships Through the Territorial Sea.The outcome of UNCLOS 3 . (b) Archipelagic Status for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This was because of fear of interference with the freedom of navigation through archipelagic waters that might be created if the off-lying islands of continental coastal states were to be granted archipelagic status. to be delimited with reference to either three hundred and fifty miles from the baselines of territorial waters or one hundred miles from the 2500 . for marine scientific research. .regimes for the abatement and control of marine pollution. The 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea met most of India's interests. Sri Lanka and Burma (Myanmar) had all unilaterally promulgated that prior authorisation and notification was required for the passage of foreign warships through their respective territorial seas. on the grounds that it would seriously jeopardise their strategic and security interests. within which the coastal state exercises sovereign rights and jurisdiction for certain specified economic activities.Twelve miles as the uniform limit for the width of the territorial sea. There were several areas where India's stand was not accepted. Pakistan. India's Maritime Zones Act 1976 also requires foreign warships to give prior notification for passing through India's territorial waters and enjoins all submarines and other underwater vehicles to navigate on the surface and show their flag while passing through these waters. For example. . for the international seabed area and for unimpeded transit passage through straits used for international navigation. Bangladesh. the Philippines and the Maldives.The 1982 Convention included India as one of the four states named as "pioneer investor' for seabed mining.a two hundred miles EEZ.a Continental Shelf extending to the outer edge of the continental margin.meter isobath. But by 1977. India became the first state to be so registered. On 17 August 1987. The Convention granted the status of an archipelago only to those groups of islands that were political entities by themselves as for example Indonesia. .

India would have had full regulatory control over the navigation of ships passing through the Ten Degree Channel. Three options emerged: . India gained in two significant areas:(a) India's EEZ became the twelfth largest in the world. the International Seabed Authority allotted to India a 150. which would then have been part of India's archipelagic waters.000 square kilometer mine site in the central Indian Ocean for the seabed mining of polymetalic nodules. a committee was set up to consider the type of force that should be created to enforce compliance with its provisions. discussions had commenced in India on how the EEZ was going to be sageguarded. whichever is greater. and therefore subject to the restricted regimes of archipelagic sealanes passage. The UNCLOS 1 Continental Shelf Convention had provided for a safety zone of 500 meters around artificial islands. On 25 August 1976 India passed the Maritime Zones Act which claimed a 12 mile territorial sea. using naval repair facilities. If archipelagic status had been granted to these groups of islands. Apart from the benefits of an agreed Law of the Sea. India's Gains After the 1982 UN Convention of the Law of the Sea. Naval Headquarters had suggested to the Government to have an armed force on the lines of the US Coast Guard and stressed the importance of interministerial coordination while selecting Coast Guard vessels.Andaman group and the Nicobar group of islands is 76 miles. considering the time that a huge supertanker takes to come to a stop. a 200 mile EEZ and a continental shelf up to 200 miles or the outer edge of the continental margin. India therefore advocated Enlarged Safely Zones. then a coastal state may promulgate safely zones larger then 500 metres. India's view at UNCLOS 3 was that this zone was inadequate. setting up communication netweks. The extension of the EEZ to 350 miles or 100 miles beyond the 2500-metre isobath added 2 million square kilometers to India's jurisdiction. Such integrated Navy-Coast Guard development would avoid duplication and economise effort. Soon after this Act. recruiting experienced personnel. (b) Pursuant to the `pioneer investor' status. installations or structures on the continental shelf. The suggestion did not receive adequate support. In 1974. The Genesis of the Coast Guard. indigenisation etc. (c) Enlarged Safety Zones for Offshore Installations. While UNCLOS 3 was still in the early phase of discussing the EEZ and well before India had enacted the Maritime Zones Act of 1976. a 24 mile contiguous zone. The richest area at this site has a density of 21 kilograms of nodules per square metre. A provision was howver incorporated in the 1982 Convention that if authorised by generally accepted international standards or as recommended by the competent international organisation.

A permanent Coast Guard was constituted as an armed force of the Union on 19 August 1978. An interim Coast Guard was constituted on 1 February 1977. (d) Assist the customs in anti smuggling activities when patrolling the seas beyond Indian customs waters. the Ministry of External Affairs however felt that patrolling of the EEZ and protection of national assets was a peace time role for which defence assets should not be used. (b) Provide protection to fishermen. (c) Protect the marine environment by preventing and controlling marine polution. This option was finally chosen. This option was seriously considered since it would avoid the expenditure of raising and maintaining a separate armed force. (c) To set up a separate armed force of the Union. which already had a number Cental Board of Revenue (CBR) anti smuggling vessels. as a part of the Navy. (b) To set up a separate Coastal Command. (f) Take measures for the safety of life and property at sea. (g) Collect scientific data. working in close liaison with other Government authorities to avoid duplication of effort. along the lines of the US Coast Guard. This option was not pursued as the functions were too onerous. to oversee these functions. India's Coast Guard would function under the overall operational command of the Navy as is done by other Coast Guards of the world. MARITIME BOUNDARIES .(a) To entrust this responsibility to the marine wing of the Ministry of Finance. The Coast Guard thus became the principal agency for enforcing all national legislation in the Maritime Zones of India. including assisting them when in distress at sea. The Coast Guard Act 1978 requires the Coast Guard to:(a) Ensure the safety and protection of offshore terminals. which operated under the aegis of the Navy until 18 August 1978. (e) Enforce the Maritime Zones Act of 1976. During hostilities. installations and other structures and devices. as it avoided the Navy being distracted from its primary role of preparing for hostilities.

Myanmar. .India has maritime boundaries with five opposite states (Sri Lanka. in 1977. (e) Myanmar in 1982. on the trijunction point. the Maldives. Maritime boundary agreements were amicably concluded with:(a) Sri Lanka in 1974 and 1976. Thiland) and two adjacent States (Pakistan and Bangladesh). Meetings have been held with Bangladesh since 1976 and with Pakistan since 1986. (b) Indonesia in 1974. (d) Thailand and Indonesia. Maritime boundary agreements with the adjacent states of Pakistan and Bangladesh have yet to be concluded. Indonesia. (c) The Maldives in 1976.

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