India, Pakistan hold "cordial" talks on river treaty
Indian and Pakistani officials began annual talks on Wednesday on sharing the waters of the Indus river and its tributaries, an official said.
"The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere. They (the Pakistani side) have avoided contentious issues as relations are now better. They are in a mood for acceptance not rejection," the official told AFP.
It was the first contact between India and Pakistan at any official level since Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee last month offered a "hand of friendship" to Pakistan, easing 17 months of strained relations that had brought the nuclear-capable South Asian adversaries to the brink of war.
Every year before the monsoon season, the traditionally hostile neighbours hold official talks to work out a water-sharing agreement based on the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.
The treaty was negotiated between 1951 and 1960 after tensions between the two after New Delhi stemmed the flow of Indus tributaries to Pakistan on April 1, 1948 for lack of an agreement.
Under the treaty, India has exclusive rights over the waters of the Sutlej, Ravi and Beas tributaries of the Indus while Pakistan has rights over the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers.
Current issues of contention include two dams being built by India -- one is nearing completion while the other is in the pipeline.
Islamabad has objected to the construction of the Bagliyar dam on the Jhelum and the proposed Kirshna Ganga dam on the Chenab river, the official said.
The issues were not raised by Pakistan Wednesday, however.
"It was routine work. As always, they exchanged hydroelectric data and there was no discussion on the dams," the official said.
The two sides also talked about progress made in setting up a permanent Indus Commission.
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