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India, Pak take step forward on Sir Creek
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7
India and Pakistan today took a small step forward after a gap of six years in tackling yet another territorial dispute — Sir Creek in the Rann of Kutch.

Sources here told The Tribune that the two-day talks that ended today were “a good beginning” after a long gap and the two sides updated their positions on the Sir Creek issue.

The talks were held as part of the Composite Dialogue to discuss the demarcation of the international boundary between the two countries in the Sir Creek area.

A Joint Press Statement on India-Pakistan talks on Sir Creek said: “The talks were held in a frank and friendly atmosphere. The two sides elaborated upon their respective positions and had a detailed and useful exchange of views on the various issues involved.

It was agreed that early resolution of the issue would be in the interest of both countries. The two sides agreed to continue the discussions."The Indian delegation was led by Dr Prithvish Nag, Surveyor-General of India and the Pakistan delegation was led by Rear Admiral Ahsan-ul-Haq Chaudhry, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence.

India's position on Sir Creek is that it wants boundaries to be demarcated from the centre of the creek while Pakistan wants the bank of the creek to be the international boundary. The International Boundary between India and Pakistan in Gujarat is made up of three segments:

1. Segment between Eastern Terminus (ET) and Western Terminus (WT). This has been settled by the Kutch Tribunal award of 1968.

2. Segment between the WT and the head of Sir Creek.

3. Sir Creek.

Delimitation of second and third segment of the International Boundary in Gujarat has been the subject of discussions between India and Pakistan. The differences have persisted despite several rounds of talks on the Sir Creek issue.

Sir Creek was part of the composite dialogue talks held in November 1998. But no progress could be made because Pakistan focused on "solution to J&K before anything else". At the same time, Pakistan has made settlement of the land boundary in Sir Creek a prerequisite for delimitation of the International Maritime Boundary between the two countries.

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