India, Pak resume talks on Sir Creek boundary dispute

An eight-member delegation led by Surveyor General of India S Subba Rao is participating in the talks while the Pakistani side is headed by Additional Defence Secretary Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood.

The talks which are being held at the Defence Ministry in the garrison city of Rawalpindi are part of the bilateral dialogue process that recently revived after a gap of over two years in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The Indian delegation will also call on Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali.
Pakistan's Foreign Office said Islamabad attaches importance to the resumed dialogue process and "looks forward to a meaningful engagement with India on all issues".

During the last round of talks on the Sir Creek issue four years ago, the two countries made significant progress in resolving the dispute over the 96-km estuary in the Rann of Kutch separating India's Gujarat state from Pakistan's Sindh province.

At that time, Indian officials had said there was convergence "up to a great degree" over demarcating the maritime boundary based on maps finalised in a joint survey conducted in early 2007.

Pakistan and India had exchanged maps of Sir Creek, marked with their respective claims over the marshy strip and their respective demarcations of the maritime boundary.

Unlike the military standoff in the Siachen glacier, experts on both sides say a deal on the Sir Creek issue is "doable".

The talks on the Sir Creek issue follows parleys earlier this year between the Home and Interior Secretaries, the Commerce Secretaries and the Water Secretaries, who discussed the Tulbul navigation project-Wullar barrage issue.

Indian members of a joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners visited Pakistan to discuss ways to speed up the release of prisoners held in each other's jails.

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