India fast-tracks hydro projects in disputed Kashmir, much to the anxiety of Pakistan

March 16, 2017 12:11
India fast-tracks hydro projects in disputed Kashmir, much to the anxiety of Pakistan

For the development of Jammu and Kashmir, India has fast-tracked the hydropower projects worth $15 billion in Kashmir in the recent months, ignoring the warnings from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India militants.

"I say the way you look at these projects, it is not purely a hydro project. Broaden it to a strategic water management, border management problem, and then you put in money," said Pradeep Kumar Pujari, the top ranking official in the power ministry.

Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said that he would confer with the Ministry of Water and Power on the proposed Indian projects. He noted that India would be attending a regular meeting of the Indus Commission later this month in Lahore.

"It seems that finally India has realized the importance of this mechanism under the IWT (Indus Waters Treaty) for resolving water disputes related to the Indus water and its tributaries."

"We have developed barely one-sixth of the hydropower capacity potential in the state in the last 50 years," the senior official at the Water Resources Ministry said. "Then one fine morning, you see we cleared six to seven projects in three months; it definitely raises concern in Pakistan."

"The cumulative effect of these projects could give India the ability to store enough water to limit the supply to Pakistan at crucial moments in the growing season," A 2011 report by the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said.

By Premji

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