From: Asif Shahzad, Associated Press
Published May 9, 2005 12:00 AM

Pakistani, Indian Officials Begin Talks on Second Disputed Dam in Kashmir

LAHORE, Pakistan — Senior government officials from Pakistan and India began talks on Sunday on a dam India is planning to build in its portion of Kashmir that Pakistan says will violate a water-sharing accord between the two countries.


Since the mid-1970s, India has been planning to build the Kishanganga Dam to generate power. The project would require the diversion of water from the Jhelum River, which flows into the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.


Pakistan says the proposed project would violate a 1960 World Bank-brokered Indus Water Treaty that regulates the sharing of river water between the two countries.


Jamat Ali Shah, head of Pakistani delegation at the three-day talks, said diversion of water is not allowed in the treaty.


"This will affect some of our downstream projects," Shah told reporters after Sunday's talks.


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He said Pakistan also objects to the proposed dam's design, but did not elaborate.


D.K. Mehta, leading the Indian side, said India will try to remove Pakistan's concerns about the proposed dam.


"If Pakistan has objection to a certain point, a resolution has to be found. If there is a discussion on design change, then we will have to take design change," Mehta said.


Pakistan is also opposed to another dam that India is building on another driver in its portion of Kashmir, fearing it will deprive it of water for farming.


Pakistan has demanded that India stop building the Baglihar Dam on the River Chenab. Islamabad has asked the World Bank to appoint an arbitrator to settle the dispute.


Under the Indus Water Treaty, India was given control over the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers, while Pakistan was awarded the Jhelum, Indus and Chenab.


Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but each claims the Himalayan territory in its entirety. The rivals have fought two wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.


Source: Associated Press


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