India to resolve Chenab water issue with Pakistan

September 27th, 2008 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew York, Sep 26 (IANS) India has invited Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner next month to resolve issues relating to the reduced flow in the Chenab river, that flows through both countries, in the spirit of the 1960 Indus accord. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari brought up the Baglihar dam issue, being built by India over the Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir, during talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly here.

The Baglihar dam for 450 MW power generation is being built on the Chenab river, which flows from Kashmir into Pakistan.

“President Zardari also raised the water issue because Baglihar is filling the dam and the Pakistan Indus Water Commissioner was worried that water flow was low and he had complained to his colleagues,” Foreign Secretary Shivshnakar Menon told reporters here.

“We have invited him (Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner) to come in the next 15 days and to see that we are actually not filling the dam or anything but there is scarcity of water in the river,” Menon said.

The prime minister assured Zardari that India will abide by its commitment under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, Menon said. The two leaders also discussed jointly developing enormous coal reserves in Pakistan’s Thar desert area for electricity on both sides of the border.

“It is only an idea; no one has done a feasibility of wheeling the power out of Pakistan. But several ideas like that were discussed,” Menon told reporters here while giving a detailed account of discussions between Manmohan Singh and Zardari Wednesday.

The 1960 treaty distributes the water of Indus and its tributaries between India and Pakistan and provides a mechanism for resolving water disputes.

Islamabad contends that the Baglihar dam has deprived Pakistan of critically needed water resources and has threatened to seek the World Bank’s intervention on the plea that New Delhi had not responded to its “repeated complaints” on the issue. India has denied allegations.

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