Pak’s water offensive; to take up Kishanganga project row in World Bank today

Close on the heels of inauguration of the Kishanganga hydroelectric power project in Jammu and Kashmir by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, Pakistan has decided to take it up with the World Bank on Monday.  According to reports in Pakistani media, the neighbouring country will raise the issue of the inauguration of the Kishanganga hydropower project during high-level talks with the World Bank in Washington.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources and River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari stated that his ministry has plans to divert Indian share of water flowing to Pakistan through major Himalayan Rivers to meet the requirements of Indian farmers and cities.

According to a report in Dawn daily, a four-member delegation led by Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf will reiterate Pakistan’s demand to constitute an international court of arbitration on the issue. Pakistan has been opposing the construction of a power plant on the Kishanganga River, a tributary of the Jhelum river. The plant has a dam on the tributary barely metres away from the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region.

There has been dispute between India and Pakistan over sharing of river waters. There has been an outcry in India that Indus Water Treaty between the two countries is highly favourable to Pakistan and Indian interests were given a go-by by the authors of the treaty.

In a recent interview, Gadkari said “It is true that the water of our share is going to Pakistan. I am trying my best to ensure that we provide that water to Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Since the water of many of our rivers is still untapped, we have decided to utilise that water,” he said.