The foreign ministry has summoned Myanmar Ambassador Lwin Oo to protest what officials call Naypyidaw’s ‘misrepresentation’ of Bangladesh on its map. Khursehd Alam, secretary for maritime affairs at the foreign ministry, handed over a protest note when the ambassador met him in his office on Saturday, a weekly holiday in Bangladesh. bdnews24.com’s diplomatic correspondent saw the ambassador entering the room around 1pm and leaving at 2pm. The ambassador did not respond to any question. The foreign ministry did not issue any statement either.
But officials who were present at the meeting told bdnews24.com that the ambassador was summoned.
“Yes he was summoned,” one senior official said, adding that a protest note was handed over to him with relevant information.
Another official explained that Myanmar updated its map on the official website of the Department of Population, dop.gov.mm, and another website, themimu.info, in a way that shows that the Saint Martins Island is part of its territory.
They used similar colour for both Myanmar and the Saint Martins Island. Bangladesh has been shown by using black colour.
Clicking the Saint Martins Island, one can get the detailed information about the population of that area which is also similar to Myanmar. Nothing can be seen on the Bangladesh map.
“When we asked, the ambassador said it may be a mistake,” said a senior official asking not to be named.
“But we consider this as a deliberate attempt to divert the attention of the ongoing Rohingya crisis.”
Bangladesh side asked the ambassador to find out how it happened.
The Saint Martins Island has been part of British India when Myanmar was divided in 1937. After the India-Pakistan partition, it was with the then East Pakistan. Then after independence it was with Bangladesh. The first maritime boundary agreement with Myanmar in 1974 and even after the UN courts verdict on the maritime dispute between the countries, the Saint Martins Island was always part of Bangladesh.