Boundary dispute: India, Pak to resume talks

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Islamabad: India and Pakistan will resume talks on the Sir Creek boundary dispute here on Friday after a gap of four years.

An Indian delegation arrived in Pakistan on Thursday for the talks as part of the bilateral dialogue process that was recently revived after a gap of over two years in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The eight-member delegation led by Surveyor General of India S Subba Rao will hold two-day talks with a Pakistani team led by Additional Defence Secretary Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood.

The Indian delegation was received by senior officials of Pakistan`s Defence Ministry at the Wagha land border crossing this morning.

The delegation will also call on Defence Secretary Syed Athar Ali.

During the last round of talks on the Sir Creek issue four years ago, the two countries made significant progress in resolving the dispute over the 96-km estuary in the Rann of Kutch separating India`s Gujarat state from Pakistan`s Sindh province.

At that time, Indian officials had said there was convergence "up to a great degree" over demarcating the maritime boundary based on maps finalised in a joint survey conducted in early 2007.

Pakistan and India had also exchanged maps of Sir Creek, marked with their respective claims over the marshy strip and their respective demarcations of the maritime boundary.

Unlike the military standoff in the Siachen glacier, experts on both sides say a deal on the Sir Creek issue is "doable".

The talks on the Sir Creek issue follows parleys earlier this year between the Home and Interior Secretaries, the Commerce Secretaries and the Water Secretaries.

Indian members of a joint Judicial Committee on Prisoners visited Pakistan to discuss ways to speed up the release of prisoners held in each other`s jails.

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