Sir Creek line

Sir Creek listen is a 96 km (60 mi) strip of water that is disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. The creek, which opens up into the Arabian Sea, divides the Kutch region of the Indian state of Gujarat with the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is located at approximately 23°58′N 68°48′E. Originally and locally it is called 'Baan Ganga'. Sir Creek is named after the British representative.

सर क्रीक खाडी भारत मे गुजरात के कच्छ जिले और पाकिस्तान मे सिंध की सीमा के पास आई हुई है। यहाँ भारत और पाकिस्तान के बीच सीमा को लेकर विवाद है लेकिन यह विवाद कम ही चर्चा मे आता है । यह विवाद कच्छ के रण में 96 किलोमीटर लंबे मुहाने को लेकर है जो भारत के गुजरात को पाकिस्तान के सिंध प्रांत से अलग करता है।

सर क्रीक की खाडी का विवाद से पुराना रिश्ता रहा है। ईस्ट इंडिया कम्पनी के सेनापति चार्ल्स नैपियर ने 1842 मे सिंध जीतने के बाद उस प्रदेश का प्रशासन मुम्बई राज्य को सौंप दिया था। इसके बाद सिंध मे अपना प्रशासन चला रही अँग्रेज़ सरकार ने सिंध और मुम्बई प्रांत के बीच के सीमा रेखा खींची थी जो कच्छ के मध्य से गुजरती थी। इसमें यह सम्पूर्ण खाडी सिंध प्रांत मे दिखाई गई थी। यानि कि कच्छ के मूल प्रदेश से उसे अलग कर सिंध मे जोड दिया गया था। दूसरी तरफ दिल्ली के अँग्रेज़ सरकार अपने अधिकृत नक्शे में सिंध और कच्छ के बीच की सीमारेखा को कच्छ के रण तक खींचने के बाद खाडी के प्रदेश के पास अटका कर दिखाती थी।

स्वतंत्रता के बाद पाकिस्तान ने खाडी के प्रदेश पर अपना मालिकाना हक जताया. इसके जवाब में भारत का प्रस्ताव था कि कच्छ के रण से लेकर खाडी के मुख तक की एक सीधी रेखा को सीमा रेखा मान लेना चाहिए। परंतु यह प्रस्ताव पाकिस्तान को मंजूर नही था।

इस प्रकार से सिर की खाडी का करीब 650 वर्ग किलोमीटर का प्रदेश आज भी विवादित प्रदेश है और इस प्रदेश से पाकिस्तानी रेंजरों द्वारा भारतीय मछुआरों को उठा ले जाने की खबरें आती रहती है। सियाचिन के बाद सिर क्रिक भारत और पाकिस्तान के बीच तनाव बढाने वाली एक और सीमारेखा है। लेकिन यह सियाचिन जितनी चर्चा मे नही आती है।

The long-standing dispute hinges in the actual demarcation "from the mouth of Sir Creek to the top of Sir Creek, and from the top of Sir Creek eastward to a point on the line designated on the Western Terminus". From this point onwards, the boundary is unambiguously fixed as defined by the Tribunal Award of 1968.

The creek itself is located in the uninhabited marshlands. During the monsoon season between June and September, the creek floods its banks and envelops the low-lying salty mudflats around it. During the winter season, the area is home to flamingoes and other migratory birds.

The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh. Before India's independence, the provincial region was a part of Bombay Presidency of British India. After India's independence in 1947, Sindh became a part of Pakistan while Kutch remained a part of India.

Pakistan lays claim to the entire creek as per paras 9 and 10 of the Bombay Government Resolution of 1914 signed between the then Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj, the ruler of the princely state of Kutch.

The resolution, which demarcated the boundaries between the two territories, included the creek as part of Sindh, thus setting the boundary as the eastern flank of the creek. The boundary line, known as the "Green Line", is disputed by India which maintains that it is an "indicative line", known as a "ribbon line" in technical jargon. India sticks to its position 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.

India supports its stance by citing the Thalweg Doctrine in International Law. The law states that river boundaries between two states may be, if the two states agree, divided by the mid-channel. Though Pakistan does not dispute the 1925 map, it maintains that the Doctrine is not applicable in this case as it only applies to bodies of water that are navigable, which the Sir Creek is not. India rejects the Pakistani stance by maintaining the fact that the creek is navigable in high tide, and that fishing trawlers use it to go out to sea. Another point of concern for Pakistan is that Sir Creek has changed its course considerably over the years. If the boundary line is demarcated according to the Thalweg principle, Pakistan stands to lose a considerable portion of the territory that was historically part of the province of Sindh. Acceding to India's stance would also result in the shifting of the land/sea terminus point several kilometres to the detriment of Pakistan, leading in turn to a loss of several thousand square kilometres of its Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea.

In April 1965, a dispute there contributed to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, when fighting broke out between India and Pakistan. Later the same year, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostilities and set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute. A verdict was reached in 1968 which saw Pakistan getting 10% of its claim of 9,000 km² (3,500 sq. miles).

The disputed region was at the center of international attention in 1999 after Mig-21 fighter planes of the Indian Air Force shot down a Pakistani Navy Breguet Atlantique surveillance aircraft over the Sir Creek on August 10, 1999, killing all 16 on board. India claimed that the plane had strayed into its airspace, which was disputed by the Pakistani navy. (See the Atlantique Incident).

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