India,Pakistan to discuss Chenab water controversy next week

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New Delhi, Oct.16 : Indian and Pakistani officials will meet in New Delhi next week to discuss the alleged blockade of Chenab river water by India.

Pakistan's Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah will arrive here on Saturday for talks with his Indian counterpart G Ranganathan.

The Indus Water Commissioners of the two countries are expected to discuss how to address such issues amicably to each other's satisfaction.

The talks have been warranted after Pakistan alleged that India had stopped the flow of water from Chenab river for construction of Baglihar power project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan claimed its crops had been affected because of this. India has said the flow was low because of the lesser availability of water in the river.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said last Sunday that the issue could "damage ties" between the two countries.

"The Indian Prime Minister had assured me in our meeting in New York that his country was seriously committed to our water-sharing treaty. We expect him to stand by his commitment," Zardari was quoted as saying.

Besides holding talks in New Delhi, the Pakistani delegation is also expected to visit Baglihar Dam in Jammu and Kashmir for on-the-spot assessment.

The 450 MW Baglihar Power Project on the River Chenab, which was caught in a prolonged tussle between India and Pakistan before World Bank gave a go-ahead for its construction over a year ago, was commissioned last week.

India has questioned Pakistan's claim that the reduces water flow had affected cultivation in that country.

Under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, India and Pakistan each have exclusive right over three of the six common rivers. The two sides also agreed to complete the joint verification, repair and maintenance of boundary pillars along border.

Pakistan and India reconstructed or repaired 61 and 16 boundary pillars respectively since the last bi-annual meeting in March.

ANI

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