Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sharma: The International Law of the Sea: India and the UN Convention of 1982

O.P. Sharma (formerly, Indian Navy; Member, Indian Delegation to the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea) has published The International Law of the Sea: India and the UN Convention of 1982 (Oxford Univ. Press 2009). Here's the abstract:

The law of the sea has undergone more change in the last sixty years than in the previous four hundred. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982 has introduced revolutionary changes and its provisions govern almost all the diverse uses of the oceans. Today all naval operations, in times of peace as well as war, are to be carried out within the framework of the Convention. It also has far reaching significance for maritime trade, both domestic and international.

This lucid and comprehensive book examines all key aspects of the international law of the sea, bearing in mind India’s concerns in particular. The author contends that the Convention’s regime on navigation through the territorial sea, international straits, the exclusive economic zone, abatement and control of marine pollution, marine scientific research, and the international seabed area are fully in accord with the country’s national interests. He explains the jurisdictional boundaries or functional divisions of the oceans into various maritime zones along with their military implications.

He analyses concepts like ocean governance, the limitations on the freedom of the seas and the signal importance of maritime cooperation in various spheres of the law of the sea. He argues that the strategic challenge for the international community is to evolve a paradigm shift from competitive to cooperative security so that emerging threats like trans-national crimes and terrorism may be dealt with. This book also provides an overview of controversies and points of disagreement between various states. It discusses briefly some disputes that came before the International Court of Justice, the Law of the Sea Tribunal, and national courts, as well as their judgments. It clarifies what the legitimate use of ocean space in today’s world is and what is not.