4 abandoned Pak boats recovered off Sir Creek

04 Feb 2017 | By NewsBytes Desk
Security vulnerabilities at Sir Creek

The BSF has recovered 4 abandoned Pakistani fishing boats off Sir Creek in the last 2 days.

One boat was recovered in the Koteshwar area of Sir Creek, while three more were seized about 3 km off Sir Creek.

Search operations are underway in the area.

BSF officials said "we have beefed up patrolling in the area," and are searching for more Pakistani boats.

In context: Security vulnerabilities at Sir Creek

Sir CreekWhat is Sir creek?

Sir Creek is a 96 km long tidal estuary, which opens up into the Arabian sea.

The creek divides the Sindh province of Pakistan from Gujarat in India and serves as a border between India and Pakistan.

The border is also disputed, as Pakistan claims the whole creek, while India insists the border runs mid-river.

DisputeWhy is it disputed?

The Sind Government Resolution was signed between the then Government of Sindh and Rao Maharaj of Kutch in 1914. Under paragraph 9 and 10 of the resolution, Pakistan lays claims to the whole creek.

Under international law, India claims the creek should be divided mid-river.

The creek enters a region of the Arabian sea rich in hydrocarbon deposits, important for both countries' EEZs.

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Economic importance of Sir Creek

As Sir creek enters a hydrocarbon rich region of the Arabian Sea, claimants will have access to these extensive reserves under the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. The creek is also rich in fisheries resources, and fishermen often inadvertently cross international boundaries.
Atlantique incident

AtlantiqueAtlantique incident

On 10 August 1999, India's MIG-21 fighters shot down a Pakistani reconnaissance plane over Sir Creek.

India shot the plane, carrying 16 Pakistani naval officers on board for an airspace violation.

This led to heavy militarization of the region by Pakistan, which then fired a surface to air missile that missed an Indian reconnaissance party which was surveying the wreckage of the Pakistani plane.

Fishing boatsThe problem of fishing boats

Over the years authorities have found several abandoned Pakistani fishing boats in Sir Creek.

Between November-March 2016, authorities recovered 8 such boats. In the same period a year ago, authorities had recovered 4 such abandoned vessels.

Officials found mobile phones and Pakistani SIM cards in the vessels.

BSF officials said they saw 10 men escaping to the Pakistani side from one of the vessels.

TheoriesDo the boats pose a security risk?

Officials have been unable to ascertain the security threat from the boats.

Some officials believe the boats to be part of drug smuggling racket that were abandoned after transferring their cargo to other vessels. Ocean currents are believed to have drifted them toward India.

Others believe they were used for illegal fishing operations and were abandoned out of fear of being caught by India.

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The drug boat episode

On January 1 2015, India's coast guard blew up a Pakistani fishing vessel for refusing to comply with orders and attempting to escape. The boat was alleged to be involved in narcotics trade. In April 2015, authorities recovered a boat with drugs worth Rs.600 crore.

04 Feb 20174 abandoned Pak boats recovered off Sir Creek