Water dispute with India may threaten peace talks: Pakistan

October 13th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Oct 13 (DPA) Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari warned that any breach of a river water-sharing treaty by India will be detrimental to the peace process between the nuclear-armed neighbours, media reports said Monday.The statement came two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the 450-megawatt Baglihar hydroelectric project over the Chenab River that flows from Kashmir valley of Jammu and Kashmir state into Pakistan.

“Pakistan would be paying a very high price for India’s move to block Pakistan’s water supply from the Chenab River,” Zardari said Sunday in a statement released through the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan newswire.

Indian National Security Adviser M K Narayanan told the NDTV news channel in an interview aired on the same day that Chenab water would not be blocked as “India does not want a conflict on the issue.”

Zardari said Singh also assured him during their recent meeting in New York that India was “seriously committed” to the water-sharing treaty. He said Pakistan expected Singh to stand by his commitment.

“India should not trade off important regional objectives for short-term domestic goals,” the Pakistani president noted.

He warned that violation of the Indus Water Treaty, brokered by the World Bank in 1960, would strain bilateral ties the two countries had built over the years.

Zardari’s statement came days ahead of the scheduled visit of Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah to India, for talks over compensation for shortage of 200,000 acre-feet of water in September when Chenab water was allegedly blocked by India to fill the Baglihar dam reservoir.

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