India rubbishes Pak charges on water theft
Peeved at Pakistan's oft-repeated allegation that it is being deprived of its share of common waters, India today said such charges were aimed at diverting the attention of their people from their "own inefficient" use of the vital resource.
On the eve of the bilateral talks on water here, India asserted that it has never deprived Pakistan of its share of water, not even during wars and had no intention to do so ever.
"India has no intention of taking away water which may be rightfully theirs...We have demonstrated this even in the past. When relations were at nadir, when we were at war, we did not use water as a weapon to deprive them of their share," said water resources minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
On Pakistan's charge that India was "stealing" water, he said, "They are diverting the attention of their people from their own inefficient use of water, we have seen this in case of Baglihar (power project)."
His statement comes in the backdrop of Pakistan's threat to move the World Bank for arbitration over Kishenganga power project in Jammu and Kashmir, which it alleges violates the 1960 Indus Water Treaty as water would be diverted.
Pakistan is said to have appointed two arbitrators to contest its case, though it is yet to formally approach the World Bank.
Pakistan is also objecting to construction of two other hydel power projects, Uri-II and Chutak, in Jammu and Kashmir.
These issues are expected to come up for discussion during the meeting of Indus Water Commissioners here tomorrow.
Suggesting that India was ready to walk the extra mile, Bansal said, "Our effort will be to sort out the matter through negotiations, be it at a higher level also."
The 240 MW Uri-II hydel power project is being constructed on Jhelum river in Kashmir valley.
The 44 MW Chutak project is being constructed in Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh province and would harness the hydropower potential of Suru river.
The barrage of the project is located near Sarzhe village and the power house is proposed on right bank of river Suru near village Chutak.
Pakistan claims that the construction of the Chutak project would block 35,000-feet per acre water.
India maintains that there is no violation of the treaty and is expected to demonstrate this at the meeting.
Under the Indus Water Treaty, Pakistan has exclusive right over three of the common rivers, Indus, Jhelum and Chenab while India has exclusive right over Sutlej, Ravi and Beas.