Pakistan Objects To India Move To Fill Leh Dam

Pakistan Objects To India Move To Fill Leh Dam

12 August 2012
The Asian Age
Parul Chandra

New Delhi: In what is being seen here as yet another attempt by Pakistan to whip up anti-India sentiment on water-related issues, reports emerging from Islamabad on Sunday said Pakistan has asked India not to fill water in the Nimoo Bazgo dam on the Indus river in Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir. However, a top government official here said on Sunday that they were yet to receive any objection from the Pakistani authorities. The dam, a 45 MW hydel project on the Indus, is covered by the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 between the two countries. Pakistani authorities fear the dam will reduce water inflows into their country. Itís significant that Pakistani unhappiness with the Nimoo Bazgo project has resurfaced just as the two countries await the final verdict of the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) at The Hague on the Kishanganga hydropower project. Built on an Indus tributary, the Jhelum, Pakistan had dragged India into international arbitration on this project claiming India had violated the Indus treaty. The verdict is expected later this month. A Pakistani newspaper, the Express Tribune, reported Sunday that Pakistan has raised objections to the damís filling up. The report quoted an unnamed Pakistani official as saying India has been asked not to fill up the dam as it is a disputed and controversial project. However, sources here said that when such a thing is done, the Pakistani side is informed about both the date and time, as per the provisions of the Indus pact. Further, the Indus water commissioners of both India and Pakistan are in regular and direct touch on issues under the ambit of the treaty, they stated, adding that in any case the filling up of the dam would be done under the provisions of the Indus treaty. ďThey are making a noise for nothing,Ē they said. Sources also noted that internal politics in Pakistan is also at play in the case of Nimoo Bazgo. Currently, a blame game is on in Pakistan with a former Indus water commissioner of Pakistan being accused by the Pakistani authorities of not taking timely steps that would have enabled Pakistan to take the project before a neutral expert or arbitrator while the dam was under construction.