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India-Pakistan Indus water talks delayed

IANS | Islamabad |


The secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India on the Indus Water Treaty in Washington have been delayed, a media report said on Thursday.

The talks were scheduled for April 11-13 but are now likely to be held in the last week of April, official sources told The Nation daily on Wednesday.

Last month, Federal Minister for Power and Water Khawaja Asif had confirmed that after the US' intervention, the secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India for resolving two controversial hydropower projects, including Kishanganga hydro electric project (330MWs) and the under-construction Ratle hydro electric project (850 MWs) was scheculed to be held in Washington in April. 

When contacted, Commissioner Indus Water Treaty Asif Baig said that they have submitted their response to the World Bank and now they will contact India regarding their response. 

When asked why the meeting was postponed, he said, April 11-13 was not the scheduled date for the meeting as it was just the proposed dates. 

He said that the World Bank with the consensus of both countries will provide fresh dates of the meeting. He said that he does not know about the new dates, reports the daily.

Pakistan has been protesting over the design and construction of the two projects on the tributaries of the Indus in the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 and involves six rivers: the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. 

Brokered by the World Bank, the treaty gave the right to use waters of the first three rivers to India and of the other three rivers to Pakistan.

India has said it has the right under the treaty to set up hydropower plants on the tributaries of the rivers flowing through its territory. 

Pakistan fears this might reduce the water flow of the rivers into its territory.