New Delhi: India has fast-forwarded hydrpower projects worth $15 billion in Kashmir in recent months, three federal and state officials said, ignoring warning from Islamabad that power stations on rivers flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.
The swift approval about the most liberal water-treaty projct that had languished for years came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested last year that sharing the waterways could be conditional on Pakistan clamping down on anti-India militants that New Delhi says it shelters.
Pakistan, has opposed these projects before, saying they vote a World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus river and its tributaries upon which 80 per cent of its irrigation agriculture depends.
The largest scheme of which is the 1,856 MW Sawalkote plant, will take years to complete, but their approval could prove a flashpoint between the nuclear-armed neighbor's at a time when relations are at a low ebb.
"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 they put in money," said Pradeep Kumar Pujari, the top ranking official in the power ministry.
However, Pakistan denies any involvement in the 28-year insurgency in Indian Kashmir and has repeatedly urged New Delhi to hold talks to decide the future of the region.
Nafees Zakaria, Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman said he would confer with the Ministry of Water and Power on the reopposed Indian projects, saying it was a technical matter.
However, India would be attending a regular meeting of the Indus Commission later this month in Lahore, even though the border peace dialogue was on hold.
"It seems that finally India has realised the importance of this mechanism under the IWT (Indus Water Treaty) for resolving water dispute related to the Indus water and its tributaries."