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Talks on with Pak to resolve Sir Creek issue: Antony

August 25, 2012 20:26 IST
Defence Minister A K Antony on Saturday said that efforts were on to resolve the disputed Sir Creek issue with Pakistan.

"The dialogue process is on to resolve the issue with the neighbouring country, but can't tell any time limits," Antony told media persons after inaugurating the Remote Operating Station of the Coastal Radar Network at Porbandar.

Sir Creek is a 98-km disputed territory between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands, which opens up into the Arabian Sea. The Sir Creek divides the Kutch region of Gujarat and the Sindh province of Pakistan.

Antony inaugurated the Gujarat leg of the ROS as part of the coastal radar network, which has been envisaged to provide security cover for the coastline. Earlier in the day, he inaugurated a similar system in Maharashtra.

"With the inauguration of this system, the country will be able to meet any challenges that arise either from outside or within," Antony said.

The system would function round-the-clock to keep a constant vigil on the activities on the sea, he said.

The chain of static sensors project being steered by the Indian Coast Guard finds its origin in the recommendations made by the Group of Ministers on reforming the national security system post Kargil conflict.

After a detailed inter-ministerial deliberations, it was decided that the ICG would implement the ambitious project, which is divided into two phases.

Phase-I has a detailed vulnerability gap analysis and feasibility. The study was undertaken by the ICG along with other stake holders like Indian Navy and the state government.

Accordingly, phase-I was conceptualised for real-time surveillance cover up to 25 nautical miles around the areas of high sensitivity and traffic density along our coastline.

"Porbandar coast is a gateway to India's valuable economic strategic assets and the union government has been taking all possible steps to protect the country's coastline," Antony said during his address.

He said the system would help security agencies keep a close vigil on any movements in the sea. P

On the issue of Indian fishermen being caught by the Pakistani marine agencies, Antony said the Centre had always been alert to provide security to fishermen and happy about the state government's co-operation.

"The union government has always been taking care to protect the fishermen and after the inauguration of the system, our security agencies will be more able to keep close vigil on the sea," he said.

However, Antony refused to reply when he was asked about the reported promotions of defence officials on fake documents.

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