In the two days talks over Sri Creek beginning this weekend, India and Pakistan are working out a mechanism for the 2nd survey of Sir Creek targeted for completion next March to enable an easy and conflict free demarcation of the maritime zone. The decision for joint survey between November 2006 and March 2007 was taken in May 2006 when the sides met to sort out this issue and this meeting is essentially to work out the process.
For 22 years, India and Pakistan have disagreed on where the maritime boundary lies in the 60 mile strip of water between the Rann of Kutch in India and Sindh in Pakistan. Hydrographers from both nations completed the first survey January 2006. Sir Creek is one of the eight subjects that are part of the peace process and is considered a relatively less complicated and contentious issue and both nations have had many rounds of technical conversations since 1969.
The two nations are urgently trying to resolve this dispute since the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, signed by both, requires all maritime boundary disputes to be settled by 2009, failing which the water will be treated as international waters. Since the strip of water is expected to contain oil and natural gas deposits, both nations are anxious to resolve the dispute peacefully. In 1914, the Sindh Government under the control of the British and the Rao Maharaj of Kutch had agreed to divide the boundary right down the middle of the creek.
An Indian side is led by Chief Naval Hydrographer Rear Admiral B.R. Rao the Pakistani side by Surveyor General of Pakistan Jamil ur Rahman Afridi.