Kashmir Hydel Dams Will Intensify Indo-Pak Conflict: US22 June 2011
Srinagar: Top US diplomats view proposed dams for hydro-electric projects in Kashmir as a great stumbling block in peace talks between India and Pakistan for sparking off serious water disputes between the two countries, the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has disclosed. The latest diplomatic cables over Indo-Pak relations put out by the website quote the former US ambassador to New Delhi, David Mulford, as having informed the Bush administration in February 2005 that a series of hydro-electric dams planned in Kashmir would put the Indus Water Treaty between the two under severe strain even if New Delhi and Islamabad managed to sort out their issues over the Baghlihar and the Kishenganga projects. Similarly, in November 2008, the US ambassador to Pakistan had written to the US government that Pakistan had suffered a 34 per cent fall in the flow of the Chenab due to the Baghlihar project in Kashmir even though the World Bank had settled the dispute over the construction of the hydel plant. The fall in Chenab waters was destroying summer crops in Pakistan, and had intensified the already serious power crisis throughout the country, the diplomat was said to have written. Though Indian officials officially deny Pakistanís complaints of reduced flow, privately they admit it as a fact, attributing it to the construction of the Baghlihar project and climatic variations, th diplomat was said to have informed Washington. According to the leaked cables, Pakistani officials have privately confided their fears and apprehensions about New Delhiís planned hydro-electric projects in Kashmir to the US ambassador. The US envoy to Delhi had also apprised Washington of a Pakistani diplomatís views that there were no moderates or doves over the water issues.