India, Pak hold tech-level talks on Sir Creek

Indian and Pak officials held talks to work out on modalities for conducting a second joint survey of the Sir Creek area.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 17:49 IST

Indian and Pakistani officials held technical-level talks on Friday to work out modalities for conducting a second joint survey of the Sir Creek area.

Chief Naval Hydrographer Rear Admiral BR Rao held talks with his counterpart, Surveyor General of Pakistan Major-General Jamil-ur-Rahman Afridi, at Rawalpindi to determine the modalities for undertaking the survey which is expected to be completed by March 2007.

This would be the second survey to be undertaken by the two parties in the history of the 22-year-long dispute over the marshy strip off the Gulf of Kutch whose determination would enable both countries to finalise their maritime economic zone and intimate the United Nations.

The two sides agreed to hold the survey during the talks held in May this year as part of the third round of Composite Dialogue process in which Sir Creek was one of the subjects being discussed.

The first joint survey on Sir Creek had been conducted by hydrographers of the two countries in January 2005.

The two countries have held several rounds of talks at both technical and governmental levels since 1969 on the Sir Creek issue but of no avail.

Both sides were keen to retain it as its determination could enable them to claim several hundred kilometres of maritime coast line.

Its determination was essential as both countries have to notify the maritime economic zone to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea to which both Pakistan and India are signatories.

The convention requires that all maritime boundary disputes be resolved by 2009 failing which UN may declare them as international waters.

Talks would conclude on Friday after which the two sides were expected to issue a joint statement.

First Published: Dec 22, 2006 15:51 IST