THE Pak-India chill that set in after the Mumbai attacks sent into deep freeze one of the most significant movements in bilateral diplomacy - towards a resolution of the Sir Creek maritime boundary dispute in the Rann of Kutch, reports The Indian Express. Sources involved with the negotiations have confirmed to The Indian Express that had the attacks not taken place - and therefore not halted the five-year long composite dialogue process with Islamabad - India and Pakistan, by now, would have been well on course to meet the May 2009 deadline set by themselves to resolve the dispute. As the dispute remains to be resolved, India is filing its claim in the United Nations for extending its continental shelf before the May 13 deadline, a senior Indian military official told The claim, if approved, will give India exclusive rights over mineral and non-living resources in the nearly 250 square miles of area in the Kutch region. Though Indian authorities are confident of resolving the issues during the next dialogue, the government will be staking a claim before the UN. "The May 13, 2009 deadline was given 10 years ago... by this time all the nations have been asked to stake their claim to the continental shelf which will then govern the area of exclusive economic zone for the particular nation. If a nation does not meet the deadline, all the countries can come and explore the waters," the official said, requesting anonymity. The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security has already cleared the claim, which the Ministry of External Affairs will soon stake before the 21-member UN Committee on Legal Continental Shelf. A continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory under the sea till the end of the continental margin and the countries have to submit documented scientific evidence along with their claims. "The non-resolution of the Sir Creek boundary dispute means that there are no land boundaries for delineating the sea boundaries. But we can always stage the claim, following which no party can exploit the waters unless the issue is resolved after negotiations," the official added. The official also added that recently both sides had exchanged the latest hydrographic maps of the area and were close to resolving the issue when the terror attack on Mumbai November 26 last year froze the diplomatic dialogue between the two countries. "The next time we sit, we can resolve our issue of the Sir Creek. Our maps (drawn on the basis of the hydrographic survey) were similar," the official added. According to Indian Express, sources said that following a joint survey in the region last year, India and Pakistan had come 'excruciatingly close' to reaching an agreement on defining the international boundary through the 96-km-long strip of water that opens in the Arabian Sea and separates Gujarat in India from Sindh in Pakistan. The UNCLOS agreement, of which both India and Pakistan are signatories, gives a coastal country exclusive right over mineral and non-living resources in the continental shelf under the sea even if it extends beyond the country's Exclusive Economic Zone, which is 200 nautical miles (approximately 370 km) from the base coastline.