The United Nations Convention on the Law of Seas – It’s Implications on India 

Akash Krishnan AND Kushagra Gahoi 
ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad, India

Volume III, Issue III, 2020

The rise of the earliest civilisations occurred as early as in 3000 BC in Mesopotamia on the banks of river Nile, in the Indus-River valley . The very source of life on Earth is the extensive amount of water beds that surround us. The incessant ocean spreads around 140 million square miles, contributing to around 72 per cent of the total earth’s surface. Not only has the ocean played the role of always being a central source of nourishment for the life it helped generate, but from prehistoric eras itself it has served as a hub for trade, commerce and discovery. It has the capability to both, bring people together and keep them apart,

The oceans have always enjoyed the freedom of-the-seas doctrine, a principle established in the early 17th century, which limited national rights and jurisdiction over the seas of each nation to a narrow belt of sea which surrounded nation’s coastline. Whatever remained was declared to be free and open to all nations for use. This continued till the twentieth century, but then with changing times countries began demanding more and by mid-twentieth century there were intensive efforts to extend national claims over all offshore resources with the purpose for private and personal usage only. The United Nations in 1982, in a visionary move, adopted the Convention on Law of the Seas which led to the extension of international law to the worldwide community. The convention was responsible to resolve many of the prominent issues relating to the usage of the oceans and its ownership such as creation of International Seabed Authority and other conflict resolutions mechanisms like the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, setting up of economic zones (up to 200 miles ashore), setting rules for extending continental shelf rights (up to 350 miles offshore), setting up territorial sea boundaries (up to 12 miles offshore) and establishing freedom of navigation rights.



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