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India, Pakistan begin talks on Chenab row


New Delhi : India and Pakistan Thursday began two-day talks to address the issue of reduced water flow in the Chenab river which Islamabad alleges has been triggered by the construction of the Baglihar dam by New Delhi.

India’s Indus Water Commissioner G. Ranganathan and his Pakistani counterpart Syed Jamaat Ali Shah discussed ways to address issues relating to the Chenab water flow.

The Pakistani delegation had Monday visited the Baglihar project in Kashmir for an on-the-spot assessment of the water situation before coming to New Delhi for talks.

Pakistan has contended that it faced water losses of over 200,000 cusecs in the Chenab river due to water storage in the Baglihar dam, a violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty, according to the Pakistan daily Daily Mail.

Pakistan is planning to demand compensation for the massive loss of more than Rs.40 billion due to the water losses in the river that has affected cultivation in its territory.

While inaugurating Oct 10 the 450 MW Baglihar hydel project built over the Chenab river, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had stressed that Pakistan’s “justified concerns” were taken care of while building the project which is in accordance with the Indus treaty.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had raised the Chenab water issue with Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month.

Soon after the talks, India invited Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner to resolve issues relating to the Chenab water and assured Islamabad that it would abide by its commitments under the Indus treaty.