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India-Pak Sir Creek talks inconclusive

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May 29, 2005 16:42 IST

India and Pakistan on Sunday ended two days of talks on Sir Creek without making any headway on differences over the coastal strip off Guajrat's coast, despite the two sides reviewing the results of a joint survey.

"The talks were held in a frank and cordial atmosphere. The two sides exchanged views on various issues involved," a brief joint press statement issued at the end of talks in Rawalpindi said.

"The two sides agreed to continue their discussions aimed at an early resolution of the issue for the mutual benefit of the two countries," it said.

This is the eighth round of talks on the subject and the second under current round of Composite Dialogue process.

Expectations of progress were high this time as the two sides, in a rare agreement, conducted a joint survey of the disputed marshy creek in January to determine the pillars installed in 1925 to settle the dispute between then rulers of Rune of Kutch and Sindh. But it appears that the officials made no headway this time too.

An agreement on Sir Creek would help both countries to finalise their respective Exclusive Economic Zones in the coast between Gujarat and Sindh to file their claims before the UN Convention of Laws of Seas, which had set the deadline to settle maritime disputes by 2009.

India argues that the centre of the navigable channel of Sir Creek should be the boundary line while Pakistan contends that the eastern bank of Sir Creek should be the line of demarcation.

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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