NEW DELHI, Mar 26:
In a bid to resolve differences over the Tulbul navigation project in Jammu and Kashmir, India and Pakistan will hold Secretary-level talks here tomorrow after a gap of nearly a year.
Work was suspended in 1986 by India voluntarily following which talks were held at the Government-level. Before that, the matter was being handled at the level of the Permanent Indus Commission.
Sources said India will seek an early resolution to the vexed issue so that it can resume work on the project located on the Jhelum river in Jammu and Kashmir.
While India will be represented by Water Resources Secretary D V Singh, the Pakistani side will be led by its Water Resources Secretary Imtiaz Hussain Kazi.
The last round of talks were held in May last year in Islamabad. Last year’s bilateral talks were held after a gap of four years.
Nine rounds of Secretary-level talks have been held since work was suspended on the project, followed by five more meetings in 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 under Composite Dialogue between the two countries.
The Tulbul navigation project is located just below the exit of the Wular Lake. India envisages controlled release of water from the lake during the lean-season months of October to February to facilitate year-round navigation for trade, employment and encourage tourism.
New Delhi maintains that the regulating structure is permitted under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 for the non-consumptive use of navigation.
India has maintained that no “pondage” of water was being created over Jhelum.
Pakistan, however, contests the claim saying it as a “storage project” and charges India with violation of the provisions under the Treaty maintaining that New Delhi was stopping water, thus denying Islamabad its share.
The barrage also has the potential to disrupt the triple canal project of Pakistan-Upper Jhelum Canal, Upper Chenab Canal and the Lower Bari Doab Canal, claimed Pakistan.
India proposed to build the barrage in 1984. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Mar 26: