Ratcheting up tension with India over water, Pakistan has gone to the World Bank in an attempt to block the 775 mega watt Luhri hydroelectric project being set up in Himachal Pradesh on the Sutlej.
Pakistan has accused India of not abiding by the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 and wants all its water concerns to be addressed before the Bank goes ahead with the funding of this project.
“India is benefiting from the flow of eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej). However, the obligation by India with regard to western rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab) — the waters of which have been allotted to Pakistan — are not being met in letter and spirit of the treaty,” said the Pakistani government in its April 19 letter to the Bank.
Even though the Sutlej is one of three eastern rivers awarded to India under the treaty, Pakistan has indicated to the Bank that Delhi should take its (Pakistan’s) views on projects coming on the eastern rivers.
Pakistan has no ‘locus standi’ on the issue, an official in India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told HT.
“India is allowed to tap all 33 million acre feet of water from the eastern rivers,” the official said. “It still allows 3 maf to flow into Pakistan. Though the treaty even allows India to compensate for this 3 million maf with water from the western rivers, Delhi hasn’t thought in this direction”, the official said.
“Pakistan is doing all this to divert attention from many factors, including its mismanagement of water resources."
Pakistan's views come at the time when both countries are about to restart their political engagement. The foreign ministers of two countries are set to meet on July 16 in Islamabad to address the post-Mumbai trust deficit and work out the modalities for the future dialogue and to discuss "all issues of mutual concern".
In the past, Pakistan has protested over the Baglihar hydro power project on the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir, and has been pushing India to renegotiate the Indus Water treaty.
Pakistan also said India has raised “objections against the construction of Bhasha dam and its funding by the World Bank in Indus river,” which along with two other western rivers, Jhelum and Chenab, are awarded to Pakistan under the 1960 treaty.