KARACHI, May 12: Pakistan Navy has commissioned “Creek Battalion” at Sujawal for deployment and sustained operations in the creek areas, including the Sir Creek area.

The commissioning ceremony was held at Battalion Headquar-ters, Sujawal, on Sunday night. The chief of the naval staff, Admiral Mohammad Afzal Tahir, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Addressing the ceremony, Admiral Tahir said that creek areas, including the disputed Sir Creek, was inhospitable, not only for wartime operations but also for the peacetime logistic support missions, and forward deployment of marines was crucial for the defence of this very important and sensitive area.

He expressed his satisfaction over the Pakistan marines that rose to the task and developed proficiency of operations in the creek areas. The naval chief said that the importance of marines had become more pronounced due to their broad spectrum of operations, be it at sea, on land, in the littoral or any assignment involving military operations other than war. He appreciated that the government schools at Chuhar Jamali, Shah Bandar and Jati had been adopted by the marines to provide quality education to the local populace. He also noted their contribution in the rehabilitation of flood and cyclone victims.

Earlier, in his welcome address Commander Coast Vice-Admiral Mahmood Ahmad Khan gave details of the establishment of the Battalion Headquarters at Sujawal. He underlined various achievements of the marines since its very inception.

The contention over Sir Creek began as early as 1908. The problem was referred to the then government of Bombay and resolved in 1914. After remaining dormant till independence, the issue got sparked up again when both the countries embarked upon the demarcation of land boundary in the creeks area during 1958 to 1961.

The significance of the area became more pronounced when in 1997 India established its forward military presence at Sikky post in proximity of Sir Creek with an aim to show presence for substantiating Indian claim over Sir Creek.

The creek area has great economic potential in terms of oil, gas and natural resources. Keti Bandar located only 50 nautical miles northwest of Sir Creek mouth has bright prospects for the development of a small commercial port to facilitate the populace of the area in terms of fisheries as well as trade.

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