The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jarring note in border truce music

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Striking a jarring note in the ongoing peace efforts, Pakistan today threatened to seek international arbitration if India failed to stop work on the Baglihar hydro-power project by the end of the year.

But Delhi, which refrained from issuing an official statement, feels that much of Islamabad’s brinkmanship was to ensure India does not further delay resumption of the Samjhauta Express service — the only rail link between the two countries. Talks for resuming the service are slated between the two sides in Delhi between December 18 and 19.

The Baglihar project is coming up on Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir. But Pakistan claims its construction is in violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty. In a notice issued to Delhi, Islamabad has said if India failed to stop work on the project then Pakistan reserved the right to seek international arbitration.

The 1960 treaty allows either of the two countries to seek mediation by the World Bank — which had brokered the deal — in the event they failed to resolve a dispute relating to water sharing.

Agency reports from Islamabad quoted officials of the Indian high commission there as having confirmed receiving the notice issued by Pakistan last week.

Last month, a team from Pakistan visited the project site for a joint inspection. Though satisfied at having been allowed access to the site by the Indian authorities, the visiting team had not made any immediate comments on their findings.

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