Pakistan Navy has extended its Indian Ocean limits, which is not only a greater role of responsibility but also a trust of the international community on the capacity and capability of Pakistan Navy. This is being regarded as a landmark development. Pakistan has possessed this extension a couple of years before, but now the United Nations’ Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has formally and unanimously approved Pakistan’s claim for the extension of outer limits of its continental shelf.

Under the CLCS approval, Pakistan’s continental shelf limits have been extended from 200 nautical miles to 350 nautical miles. As a consequence of this landmark development, Pakistan has been granted an additional area of approximately 50,000 square kilometers. Pakistan will have exclusive rights for exploitation and exploration of resources at and beneath the seabed in this area in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Article 76 of the UN Convention on Law and Sea (UNCLOS) allows coastal states to extend their continental shelf beyond 200 NM. However, a coastal state is required to make its case to the CLCS – a body of 21 experts in geology, geophysics, hydrography and other related disciplines. The project to extend the limits of Pakistan’s continental shelf was started in 2005, jointly by Pakistan Navy and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

Pakistan had submitted its claim to the CLCS in April 2009. A 7-member sub-commission of the CLCS undertook indepth review of Pakistan’s submission and, after more than a year of scrutiny and analysis, adopted recommendations for the extension of Pakistan’s continental shelf from 200 to 350 NM. During this process, a technical delegation from Pakistan undertook multiple interactions with the sub-commission.

The agreement and grant of limit extension is being regarded significant as the approval will help Pakistan in its socioeconomic progress. Oman has reportedly extended all kind of help and cooperation in sea limits’ extension and approval by the UN commission. The Foreign Office of Pakistan has formally thanked Oman “for its understanding and cooperation in the matter”. Pakistan’s representative at the UN, Dr Maleeha Lodhi has also reportedly worked hard in getting the project materialized and having a unanimous consensus approval. Well done, Pakistan Navy for its track record of past performance and the officials engaged on behalf of the Pakistan Foreign Office.


Islamabad, October 14.