Islamabad, Feb 16 (ANI): India and Pakistan could lose a lot in terms of the Sir Creek's unexplored natural resources, due to the conflicting claims they are planning to file in May under the United Nations Convention on the Law of Seas (UNCLOS) over the outer limits of their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and the continental shelf.
Diplomatic sources say that under UNCLOS, state parties to the convention must claim maritime rights - such as territorial waters, contiguous zones, EEZs and the continental shelf - by the end of June this year.
"As Sir Creek is disputed, none of the parties to the dispute can exploit maritime benefits and oil and other mineral resources, but they can lodge claims pending a decision on the dispute over the boundary between the two countries," they said.
They said Pakistan would lodge its claim in May over the EEZ and the continental shelf, and India is also planning to file its documents in the same month, as failure to do so by the June deadline would culminate in the other party's claim being accepted.
"Pakistan is preparing its case to claim its rights, as an early resolution of the Sir Creek dispute is not possible ... an early settlement could help to demarcate the Indo-Pak EEZs on the basis of UNCLOS guidelines," the Daily Times quoted sources, as saying.
They said both countries would file their claims, but neither could utilise the creek's natural resources until a boundary was determined.
"The stakes are quite high ... marshland characterising Sir Creek is rich in oil and gas. Its waters in the nearby sea are home to various types of fish," they said.
Both sides have been wrangling over the demarcation of the maritime boundary for decades.
India says accepting Pakistan's premise on the 'green line' would mean the loss of about 250 square miles of EEZ for New Delhi, while, Pakistan rejects India's proposal for mid-channel demarcation because "this is applicable to navigable channels ... Sir Creek is not navigable". (ANI)