'Mush wanted to solve Sir Creek issue in 10 minutes'

The dispute on which India and Pakistan fought a war in 1965 involves a clear demarcation of the border in the creek and the adjoining sea on the west coast. The bilateral talks are stuck since 2007 when before the last meeting Musharraf admitted a solution was possible. Hydrographers from both sides decided first to tackle the marine area, which is the least controversial among the three sectors in the Sir Creek area.

In the absence of a land terminus to start the cartographic measurements, India proposed a sea-based approach. Though Pakistan was initially reluctant, it agreed after some persuasion.

After a few rounds of negotiation, both sides were of the opinion that at least the marine boundary issue up to 120 nautical miles from the shore could be settled with the satisfaction of both. “Musharraf too felt that a solution could be arrived in 10 minutes,” said India’s Chief Hydrographer, Vice Admiral B R Rao.

But Pakistan eventually backed out because they insisted on a composite outcome combining all the three sectors rather than breaking up the sectors and solved them one by one, Rao said, adding that Sir Creek was one of the “doables”.

As New Delhi and Islamabad are set to reopen talks, finding out a solution to the vexed Sir Creek region remains one of the priorities. Surveyor General of India and his Pakistani counterparts along with foreign ministry officials from both nations will resume discussions in a few month. The row actually is a century-old one started by the princely states of Kutch and Sindh over firewood.

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