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Sir Creek talks on May 17-18 amid resolution hopes

Sir Creek is one of the issues under the Composite Dialogue Process between India and Pakistan, which has entered the fourth round.

world Updated: Apr 14, 2007 17:08 IST
PTI

Officials from India and Pakistan would meet in Islamabad for two-day talks next month on the Sir Creek issue amid optimism that a recently conducted joint survey could help resolve the dispute over the 65-mile marshy strip off Gujarat coast.

Indian officials said on Saturday that defence officials, including the hydrographers who participated in the joint survey that was completed in January, would meet on May 17-18 to work out a solution.

The maps were exchanged on March 22 and subsequent reports said both the countries agreed on the findings, which would enable them to iron out their differences over identifying the maritime boundaries at the Sir Creek.

India says the boundary should be in the middle of the estuary. Pakistan says the border should lie on the south-east bank.

Officials said the aim of the survey was to verify the outermost points with joint visits and prepare maps based on which a solution could be hammered out.

The determination of the coastline was essential for both countries to notify the maritime economic zone to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea of 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.

Sir Creek is one of the issues being discussed under the Composite Dialogue Process between the two countries, which has entered the fourth round.

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

First Published: Apr 14, 2007 16:26 IST