US keen to break Indo-Pak impasses over river water sharing issue

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Washington, Mar.24 (ANI): The United States wants India and Pakistan to avoid a conflict over the long pending issue of sharing river waters, and would like to help both countries resolve the impasse, a top American official has said.

Speaking at a US State Department briefing on the occasion of the World Water Day, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, Maria Otero, said it was important for both India and Pakistan to work out a strategy to resolve the water sharing issue.

"I think we need to work on this some and find ways to make sure that especially in the Pakistan-India case, we can help move things forward to an improved situation. What we want to make sure that we can do is help countries avoid conflicts over water," The Daily Times quoted Otero, as saying.

She said there is a need to address the issue on all-diplomatic engagements with the two countries to help them take up the matter and resolve it as soon as possible.

"So, the effort is to elevate the water issue in our diplomatic engagement with countries, to help states increase their own capacity to address these issues, and also find ways to increase the supply of water. So, the issue is the recognition of water as a potential source of conflict in our elevated effort to address it with greater priority than we have in the past," Otero said.

When asked whether Washington would play the role of a mediator between India and Pakistan, she replied: "Whether it will become the mediator in any particular conflict is not something that we're prepared to say right now."

Pakistan has been blaming India for an unsporting attitude during bilateral talks, which were initiated to resolve the impending water dispute.

Pakistan has been opposing the construction of the Kishanganga hydropower project on Ganga River in Kashmir, which is called Neelum upon entering Pakistan. Pakistan has said that the diversion of the waters of the Neelum is not allowed under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, and it will face a 27 per cent water deficit, when the project gets completed. (ANI)

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