June 2005 News

India, Pakistan Fail To Break Kashmir Dam Deadlock

2 June 2005

New Delhi: Talks between India and Pakistan to resolve differences over a dam New Delhi is building in disputed Kashmir ended inconclusively on Thursday with Islamabad saying its concerns were not addressed. The talks ended a day ahead of schedule, on the same day separatist politicians from Indian Kashmir began a historic trip to the Pakistani side in another sign that delicate ties between the nuclear-armed rivals were looking up. Talks over the dam between the two sides held last month in Pakistan had also ended inconclusively but they had agreed then to try and find a solution before July 15. There was no immediate word about another meeting between the two sides. 'The issue of dam design was deliberated upon. We could not reach any consensus. Pakistani concerns were not duly addressed by India,' Jamat Ali Shah, Pakistan's Indus Water Commissioner, told reporters. The dispute over the 330-megawatt Kishanganga hydro-power project across the Jhelum river centres around the diversion of water from one tributary of the river to another. Pakistan says this violates a river water treaty between the two countries. India says the diversion is within the 1960 Indus Indus Water Treaty, which governs water sharing between the rivals. A statement from the Indian water resources ministry said that Pakistan was given additional information about the design of the dam during the two- day talks. 'There was mutual appreciation of each other's views and narrowing down of perceptions,' the statement said. The talks over the dam are among a range of issues the nuclear-armed rivals are discussing as part of a peace process launched last year. Although sharing of river waters is not as politically sensitive as the Kashmir territorial dispute - the trigger of two of three wars between the neighbours - analysts say it has the potential of becoming increasingly contentious as the power and irrigation needs of the two sides grow. Under the Indus Water Treaty, India has rights to the waters of the Ravi, Sutlej and Beas rivers, while Pakistan has rights to the waters of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. All the rivers flow from India to Pakistan. The World Bank, a signatory to the treaty, last month named a Swiss professor to mediate in a dispute over another hydro-power project being built by India in Kashmir after talks between the two countries failed and Pakistan sought mediation.


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