NEW DELHI -- In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, India has canceled talks aimed at solving a long-running border dispute with Pakistan -- not in Kashmir, but in the teeming fishing waters of Sir Creek, which divides the two South Asian nations in the Arabian Sea.
The narrow, 60-mile-long estuary has been a bone of contention between the two nations for decades. But the dispute has been given new urgency -- and stoked new controversy -- because it featured in the buildup to the Mumbai terrorist attacks that left 171 people dead in late November. It was in the Sir Creek area where the 10 hijackers who set sail from Karachi, Pakistan, hijacked an Indian fishing boat that provided them with the cover to reach Mumbai undetected.
The Sir Creek dispute had long been overshadowed by the dispute between the two countries over the Himalayan region of Kashmir. But in the summer of 1965, frequent skirmishes near Sir Creek between the armed forces of the countries developed into a full-fledged war in Kashmir, the second of the three India-Pakistan wars.
In 1999, an Indian air force plane shot down a Pakistani naval surveillance plane flying over the disputed Sir Creek area. The incident sparked fears of a war at sea, a dangerous prospect that experts say would affect maritime trade throughout the Arabian Sea.
Relative Location Pakistan, part of the Indian Subcontinent, and positioned in the Middle East
The Middle East (or West Asia) sits where Africa, Asia and Europe meet. The countries of the Middle East are all part of Asia, but for clarity reasons we geographically show them here as a separate landmass.
Opinions vary as to what countries make up the modern definition of the Middle East.
We attempt here to show the modern definition, but in world of geography, there are often many answers or (personal or political opinions) to what appears to be a simple question.
The Middle East is a region that spans southwestern Asia and northeastern Africa. It has no clear boundaries....
The Middle East defines a geographical area, but does not have precisely defined borders....
In recent times, Pakistan has been called part of the Greater Middle East.