Sir creek dispute: Know about the SSB Lecturette Topic: Sir creek, a 96 km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands, is recently in news because a Pakistani minister recalled plan for this pact. It is a body which opens in the Arabian sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from Sindh province of Pakistan. Originally known as Ban Ganga, later Named as Sir Creek, after the name of a British representative.
Sir creek dispute: Know about the SSB Lecturette Topic
The dispute, mainly lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.
After India’s Independence in 1947, Sindh became a part of Pakistan while Kutch remained in Gujarat (India).
Pakistan claims the entire creek as per the paragraphs 9 & 10 of the Bombay resolution of 1914 signed between the then government of Sindh and Rao Maharaja of Kutch.
The resolution which demarcated boundary between two territories included the creek as a part of Sindh, this setting the boundary as eastern flank of the creek, popularly known as the green line. But India claims that boundary lies mid channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925, and implemented by the installation of mid channel pillars back in 1924. Sir creek dispute, Know about the SSB Lecturette Topic below in the article.
Sir creek dispute: What the dispute is about
The marshlands of sir creek first became disputed in the early 20th century, because of different perceptions of the boundary. Thus, the case was taken up by the then government of Bombay, which conducted a survey and mandated its verdict in 1924. This verdict had two contradictory points.
Para 9 of the verdict states that boundary lies to the east of the creek(green line) which effectively implied that it belonged to Pakistan. On the other hand, para 20 states that sir creek is navigable most of the year. Now, according to international law and Thalweg principle, a boundary can only be fixed in the middle of the navigable channel, which meant that it has to be divided between Sindh and Kutch. India has used this para to constantly argue it’s ownership. Pakistan, however claims that sir creek is not navigable, but India counters it by stating that it is navigable in high tides.
What is the importance of Sir Creek :
Apart from strategic location, it’s core importance is fishing resources. It is considered as one of the largest fishing grounds in Asia. Another vital reason for the creek region is the possible presence of great oil and gas resources under the sea, which is still unexploited due the the impending deadlock.
United Nations Convention on Law of Sea supports India’s stand :
If Thalweg principle is to be upheld, Pakistan would lose a major portion of the territory. Acceding to India’s stance would mean shifting of the land/sea terminus point several kilometers to the detriment of Pakistan, leading to loss of it’s exclusive economic zone.
War in 1965 and tribunal:
After 1965 war, British PM Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostility and set up a Tribunal to resolve the dispute. The verdict of this tribunal came in 3 years which saw Pakistan getting 10% of its claim of 900 km. Since 1969, 12 rounds of talks have been held over this issue but both sides have denied reaching any solution.
The region fell amid tension in 1999 after Pakistan navy shot down a Mig-21 fighter plane, but last round of talks were helds in 2012, since then it has been status quo.