India, Pakistan negotiate dispute over proposed Jhelum River dam

India and Pakistan held two days of talks August 30-31, failing to resolve a dispute over India’s plans to build the Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, a navigation dam on the Jhelum River in India’s side of the disputed Kashmir region.

Secretary Muhammad Ismail Qureshi, of Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power, led a Pakistani delegation to New Delhi to meet with an Indian delegation led by Secretary Gauri Chatterji of the India Ministry of Water Resources.

�The two sides emphasized the need for an early and amicable resolution of the issue in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 for the socio-economic development of the peoples of the two countries,� a statement issued by India said. �The secretaries agreed to hold discussions including at technical level on mutually acceptable dates.�

India started building the dam in the mid-1980s to help make the Jhelum navigable throughout the year, but had to suspend work after Pakistan complained that the Jhelum’s currents would be slowed in its territory, and that the work violated a water sharing agreement. Delegations have met several times in recent years to discuss what India calls the Tulbul Navigation Project and what Pakistan calls Wullar Barrage.

A joint statement said talks would continue soon.

Earlier this year, a �neutral expert� resolved differences between Pakistan and India over India’s project to build the 450-MW first phase of the 900-MW Baglihar Dam in the shared Indus River Basin. (HNN 2/21/07) The report called for changes in three elements of the dam design, reductions in freeboard and pondage and increase in the height of the intakes.

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