Sir Creek talks begin but no breakthrough expected

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Pakistan and India resumed two-day talks on Sir Creek maritime boundary on Friday after a gap of four years as part of the bilateral dialogue process. 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 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,” an official said. According to Online news agency, both sides exchanged maps and survey reports with reference to the entire area of Sir Creek during the first round of the talks.
The Indian delegation will also call on Defence Secretary Athar Ali during its visit. Before the commencement of talks, the 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 issue four years ago, the two countries made significant progress in resolving the dispute over the nearly 100-km estuary in the Rann of Kutch, which separates India’s Gujarat state from Pakistan’s Sindh province.
The official said the two sides exchanged some good proposals for the settlement of the Sir Creek issue, which was considered less thorny as compared to other issues such as Kashmir and Siachen. However, he would not divulge the exact nature of proposals.He said no breakthrough was expected at the end of the two-day talks today (Saturday) as the political push needed from the top government level was not there as of now.
He added that the two sides were likely to announce the continuation of talks on Sir Creek in the months to come at the end of their parleys on Sir Creek.