In Sindh, Pakistan, which is situated by the sea in the Indus Delta, boats have played a crucial role from prehistoric times. In order to navigate the sea, the river and the numerous lakes in Sindh, its inhabitants developed a large variety of boats with different shapes and structures over the centuries. When Arab and Persian merchants expanded maritime trade routes, Sindh became fully integrated in the inter-Asian trade network. Sindhian merchants also entertained independent commercial relations with East and Southeast Asia. Up to the present day, all the boats which navigate the Indus or the sea in Sindh are built by the local boatmen who use traditional techniques.