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Pak accuses India of putting Indus treaty in suspension

17 Feb 2002


Pakistan has accused India of virtual suspending the operational part of the Indus Basin Treaty by not responding to Islamabad's concerns over the construction of the Baglihar power project on the river Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The Indian Commissioner of Indus Basin Treaty has severed all contacts with his Pakistani counterpart, placing the operational part of the treaty under virtual suspension," officials said.

There are no contacts between the officials of the two countries since last December, the Dawn daily quoted them as saying adding a visit by Pakistani engineers to Baglihar was also called off by India following tensions.

Pakistan's accusations were in response to India's alleged lack of response to its demand that its engineers be allowed to inspect the project to ensure that water was not diverted for irrigation.

An annual meeting of the officials of the two countries to review the operational aspects of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty was held in Lahore last May during which Baglihar project came up for discussion.

An understanding was reached between the two sides in May last year to continue talks on the design of the proposed Baglihar plant. But New Delhi informed Islamabad on December 24 that the proposed visit by Pakistani officials to the project had been cancelled, they said adding there had been no contacts from India on the issue since.

The officials said being a lower riparian of Indus, Pakistan needed information on the design and status of any project being planned on the water system.

Baglihar hydro-power project was being built by India on river Chenab to generate about 500-600 MW of power. Under the terms of the treaty, New Delhi is entitled to build the project without diverting the waters.

After India proposed to construct the project in 1992, Pakistan came up with allegations that it suspected that India might be constructing an underground tunnel to divert the water for irrigation and wanted to send its engineers for inspection.

Pakistan claims that under the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, it has full rights over three rivers - Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi - but India could use the waters for power generation without diverting its flow.

India for its part has full rights over Sutlej and Beas under the treaty.

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