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What is Sir Creek Dispute between India and Pakistan?

What is Sir Creek Dispute between India and Pakistan?

Relevance:

  • GS 3 || Security || Internal Security Threats || Border Management

Why in the news?

Sir Creek Dispute between India and Pakistan

Understanding India-Pakistan relation at present:

India Pakistan relation at present:

  • The relationship between India and Pakistan has witnessed numerous ups and downs in recent years.
  • Everything from a border dispute to a ceasefire breach to a terror incident has added fuel to the flames.
  • The withdrawal of Article 370 from India’s Jammu and Kashmir territory has strained relations between the two countries.
  • Pakistan has raised concerns about the repeal of Article 370 on every national and international venue.
  • India has stated unequivocally that Kashmir is an important part of India, and that the removal of 370 from J&K province is a domestic affair of India.
  • Many countries supported India’s withdrawal of Article 370, but Turkey and Malaysia supported Pakistan.
  • The relation of both the countries have never be on normal note and every then and now many issues keep on making the situation more instance.

What is creek?

  • A creek is a narrow, protected watercourse, particularly an inlet in a seashore or a channel in a marsh.
  • It is a body of water that is smaller than a river but has a similar look.
  • It is a bulk channel.
  • There are several streams in Pakistan.

What is Sir Creek?

  • Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.
  • Originally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative.
  • The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.

What is the dispute between both the countries?

  • The point of contention is the interpretation of the maritime border line between Kutch and Sindh. The provincial region was a part of the Bombay Presidency of British India before to India’s independence.
  • However, upon India’s independence in 1947, Sindh became a part of Pakistan, whereas Kutch remained a part of India.
  • Pakistan claims the entire creek in accordance with articles 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914, signed by the then-Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch.
  • The resolution that established the boundaries between the two regions designated the creek as part of Sindh, establishing the boundary as the stream’s eastern edge, colloquially known as the Green Line.
  • But India claims that the boundary lies mid-channel as depicted in another map drawn in 1925, and implemented by the installation of mid-channel pillars back in 1924.

How dispute evolved?

  • Until 1954, the borders around Sir Creek were virtually open, with easy movement of people and goods on both sides.
  • After 1954, the countries began to take more hard attitudes on borders, and a debate erupted over Sir Creek.
  • Until 1968, India and Pakistan competed to produce historical evidence that it belonged to them.

What’s the importance of Sir Creek?

  • Fishing resources: Sir Creek’s primary importance, aside from its strategic location, is its fishing resources. Sir Creek is regarded as one of Asia’s largest fishing grounds.
  • Vast oil and gas reserves: Another critical cause for the two countries clashing over this creek is the potential presence of vast oil and gas reserves beneath the sea, which are currently unexploited due to the imminent gridlock on the subject.

India’s Claim:

  • Paragraph 9 of the verdict states that the border between Kutch and Sind lies to the east of Sir Creek, whereas paragraph 10 of the verdict further qualifies that “since Sir Creek is navigable most of the year.
  • According to international law and the thalweg principle, a boundary can only be fixed in the middle of the navigable channel, which means that it has been divided between Sindh and Kutch, and thereby India and Pakistan.”

Thalweg Principle:

  • Under international law, a thalweg is the middle of the primary navigable channel of a waterway that defines the boundary line between states.
  • Also under international law, thalwegs can acquire special significance because disputed river borders are often deemed to run along the river’s thalweg

Post War Tribunal:

  • After the 1965 war, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostilities and set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute.
  • Since 1969, 12 rounds of talks have been held over the issue of Sir Creek, but both sides have denied reaching any solution.
  • United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea(UNCLOS) was the way for the solution

1999 Atlantique Incident:

  • This disputed region is known for the Atlantique Incident which occurred in August 1999.
  • The Indian IAF’s MiG-21FL fighters shot down the Pakistan Navy’s reconnaissance plane the Breguet Atlantique which was carrying 16 naval officers on board, for an alleged airspace violation of Indian airspace on August 10, 1999.
  • The episode took place just a month after the Kargil War, creating a tense atmosphere between India and Pakistan.

Conclusion:

Sir Creek issue is defying solution because of the deep rooted syndrome of lack of trust in Pakistan. Unless the element of confidence is rebuilt by Pakistani actions, attitudes, and utterances, any genuine and meaningful progress on this, as well as other concerns like Siachen, appears to be a long shot. Sir Creek is a region between India and Pakistan that lacks a well-defined maritime border.

Mains oriented answer:

What is Sir Creek Dispute? What is it’s important for India? Write in detail. (200 words)