For many years, following the adoption of the Law of the Sea
Convention in 1982, the provisions of Part XI dealing with deep-seabed
mining, were viewed as an obstacle to the universal acceptance of and
adherence to the Convention.
Objections to the Convention's provisions dealt mainly with the
detailed procedures for production authorisation from the deep seabed,
financial terms of contracts, decision-making in the Council of the Seabed
Authority; and mandatory transfer of technology.
To overcome these objections, the United Nations Secretary
General undertook informal consultations with all interested parties,
including India, for nearly four years. As a result, the General assembly
adopted on 28 July 1994 the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of
Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10
December 1982. The Agreement, while re-affirming that the International
Seabed Area (the Area) and its resources are the common heritage of
mankind, liberalises implementation of the provisions of Part XI without
substantively amending them to ensure participation by developed
countries. The Agreement provides for integration of the pioneer regime
in Resolution II with the Convention on the basis of decisions of the
Preparatory Commission for the International Seabed Authority and for the
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
The Agreement, in essence, removes the obstacles that had
stood in the way of universal acceptance by substitutng general provisions
of the detailed procedures contained in the Convention and by leaving it to
the Authority to determine at a future date the exact nature of the rules it
will adopt with respect to the authorisation of deep seabed mining
operations. The Agreement also removes the obligation for mandatory
transfer of technology and ensures the representation of certain countries, or
groups of countries, in the Council, while giving those countries certain
powers over decision-making. India has voted in favour of the Agreement
in the General Assembly and signed the Agreement on 29 July 1994.