India has postponed the inspection of two hydropower projects on Chenab river by Pakistani experts, citing tensions in bilateral ties and the recent cancellation of talks between the foreign ministers in New York, News agency Dawn online reported.
“It seems to be an fallout of the recent tension emerging with the cancellation of the talks by India as other issues are normally affected in a larger context in such situations,” a senior official who asked for anonymity told Dawn on Tuesday.
Earlier last month, a nine-member team had visited Lahore with Pakistani counterparts on water disputes regarding the Indus Water treaty.
“Through minutes of the last PCIW’s (Aug 29-30) Lahore meeting, the Indian delegation had agreed to get the aforementioned projects inspected by the Pakistani experts during the last week of the ongoing month. When the Pakistani authorities concerned contacted them in this regard recently, they, through a letter, confirmed Oct 7 to 11 for tour/inspection of the projects by a three-member Pakistani team headed by the Indus water commissioner,” the source said.
“But now the Indian authorities have postponed the scheduled inspection, stating it wouldn’t be possible due to holding of Punchayat elections in the state by the respective district administrations soon after the end of the local bodies elections. They didn’t give us new dates as they just stated to coordinate with Pakistani authorities soon,” he added.
Commissioner for Indus waters Mehr Ali Shah confirmed the postponement. “Postponement of our visit for inspection of India’s two hydropower projects at Chenab basin is an element of surprise for us despite the fact that the delegation, which visited Lahore and held meeting with us last month, had agreed to allow us inspection of the same in the last week of the ongoing month. Later, they confirmed Oct 7 to 11. But they further postponed this schedule,” he said.
He said, “When something is mutually agreed at the state level, it shouldn’t be delayed or deferred on petty issues. So we request our counterparts to fulfil their commitment they had made during their visit to Lahore last month.”