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The Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

The Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia:


Context:

Kenya has said it will not take part in proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its maritime border dispute with Somalia.

What’s the issue?

The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.

Where is the disputed area?

  • According to Somalia, the sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.
  • Kenya, on the other hand, argues that the territorial southeast border should take a 45 degree turn as it reaches the sea, and then run in a latitudinal direction, i.e. parallel to the equator. Such an arrangement would be advantageous for Kenya, whose coastline of 536 km is more than 6 times smaller than Somalia’s (3,333 km).

Why is this area important?

The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq km large, and boasts of rich marine reserves. It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.

Kenya_Somalia

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is UNCLOS?
  2. Countries in the Indian Ocean region.
  3. Horn of Africa.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Indian Ocean Region.

Sources: Indian Express.