UNCLOS | Exclusive Economic Zone of India

Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state's territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coast.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place from 1973 through 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.The UNCLOS replaces the older and weaker 'freedom of the seas' concept, dating from the 17th century: national rights were limited to a specified belt of water extending from a nation's coastlines, usually three nautical miles. All waters beyond national boundaries were considered international waters: free to all nations, but belonging to none of them.

Different Areas under UNCLOS III
Other than EEZ below given are the different zones

Internal waters
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline. The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.

Territorial waters
Out to 12 nautical miles from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters. "Innocent passage" is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not "prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security" of the coastal state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not "innocent", and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag. Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.

Archipelagic waters
The convention defines how the state can draw its territorial borders. A baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another. All waters inside this baseline are designated Archipelagic Waters. The state has full sovereignty over these waters (like internal waters), but foreign vessels have right of innocent passage through archipelagic waters (like territorial waters).

Contiguous zone
Contiguous zone is 24 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline in which a state could continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: pollution, taxation, customs, and immigration.

Continental shelf
The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater. A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles until the natural prolongation ends. However, it may never exceed 350 nautical miles from the baseline. Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others. Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources "attached" to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.

Latest News on Exclusive Economic Zone of India

2 Aug, 2011 : India wants to share Lanka’s economic zone. India has proposed that Sri Lanka’s exclusive economic zone be shared as a measure to resolve the Indo-Lanka fishing crisis, which has now turned out to be a diplomatic issue. Fishermen crossing the maritime border have become a serious issue with several fishermen by arrested by the coast guard of both countries. 

11 June,2011 : India confident of extending exclusive economic zone. India said it was confident that the UN will soon clear its claim to almost double the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending to the seas, which could give it access to larger mineral resources, oil and natural gas. India last year submitted its claim to extend its coastal EEZ from 200 nautical miles to 350 to the UN Commission on Law of Seas (UNCLOS). "We are among a few countries which have been able to give sedimentary and scientific evidence to lay claim over an extended continental shelf around it," minister of state for earth sciences Ashwani Kumar said. Under the provision of UNCLOS, a coastal country can seek an extension of the EEZ beyond the approved 200 nautical miles if it can demonstrate that the continental shelf of the country extends beyond that distance - up to a maximum of 350 nautical miles.