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India offers talks on Baglihar project

Source: PTI
December 02, 2004 18:06 IST
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India has offered to hold Water Secretary-level talks with Pakistan later this month to discuss Islamabad's objection over the construction of the Baglihar hydro-electric dam over Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian diplomats in Islamabad told the Pakistan government yesterday that India would furnish required data on the water flow of the river by December 15 after which the talks between the Water Secretaries of the two countries could be held, officials said.

Earlier, Pakistan, which has asked the World Bank to facilitate a bilateral settlement of the issue, had proposed December 6 for the Water-Secretary level talks as a "last resort" before its planned move to seek arbitration from neutral experts.

India in response has said that mutually convenient dates could be fixed to hold the Water Secretaries' talks this month after furnishing the data, the officials said.

The two Water Secretaries had earlier met in June this year in New Delhi to iron out differences.

Pakistan objects to the Baglihar project, saying it violates the 1960 Indus Water Basin treaty, which accorded rights over rivers Ravi, Beas and Sutlej to India and riparian rights on the Indus, Jehlum and Chenab rivers to Pakistan.

It said that it would invoke a clause of the treaty to call for neutral experts if the Secretary-level talks failed.

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