India, Pakistan fail to make headway on Sir Creek (Lead)

June 19th, 2012 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) India and Pakistan Tuesday wrapped up their two-day talks on the mineral-rich Sir Creek marshlands, but failed to make any headway, with both sides politely agreeing to find “an amicable solution” and reiterating their stated positions on the disputed area.

“The two sides discussed the land boundary in the Sir Creek area and also delimitation of International Maritime Boundary between India and Pakistan,” said a joint statement after the talks.

“They reiterated their desire to find an amicable solution of the Sir Creek issue through sustained and result oriented dialogue,” said the statement.

During the talks, the Indian delegation was led by Surveyor General of India Swarna Subba Rao and the Pakistani side was led by Rear Admiral Farrokh Ahmad, additional secretary in the ministry of defence. The Pakistan delegation also met Shekhar Agarwal, additional secretary in India’s defence ministry.

The next round of talks on Sir Creek will be held in Pakistan.

The talks on Sir Creek were held a week after the talks on the disputed Siachen glacier, which also witnessed a reiteration of positions by both sides, indicating that there is little chance of any breakthrough in the near future.

The lack of any significant movement in talks on the disputed Sir Creek marshlands and the Siachen glacier, which was trumpeted by the Pakistani side as doable, has dimmed the prospects of a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan.

During his visit to India April 8, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan. At that time, the Pakistani side had projected the impression that the Siachen dispute and Sir Creek were “doable,” fuelling hopes that any breakthrough on these issues could possibly form the basis of a visit by Manmohan Singh to Islamabad.

The talks on Sir Creek were held as part of the dialogue process which the two sides resumed in February last year, setting the stage for the review by the two foreign secretaries in New Delhi June-end. The talks between the top two diplomats will set the stage for the visit of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to Islamabad in July.

Sir Creek is a 96-km-long disputed territory between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands, which opens up into the Arabian Sea. The Sir Creek divides the Kutch region of Gujrat state in India and the Sindh province of Pakistan.

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