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One last wave, and New Moore island is no more

A low-lying island in a sprawling mangrove delta which has been disputed by India and Bangladesh for almost 30 years will be squabbled over no more.

In what experts say is an alarming indication of the danger posed by rising sea levels brought about by global warming, New Moore Island has become totally submerged. “It is definitely because of global warming,” said Professor Sugata Hazra of Jadavpur University in Kolkata.

Known as New Moore Island in India, and South Talpatti in Bangladesh, the uninhabited outcrop measured barely two miles in length and one-and-a-half miles in width. Yet the island was angrily disputed by both countries.

In 1981, with high-level meetings failing to resolve the matter, Delhi dispatched the armed frigate INS Sandhayak and a small military team to erect an aerial mast and the Indian flag. Bangladesh lodged a high-level protest, saying that the island was an integral part of its territory.

The disappearance of New Moore Island, never more than two metres above sea level, may be a portent for many other islands.

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