India, Afghanistan discussing Kabul river projects to deny water to Pakistan

Published On: October 14, 2016 02:40 PM NPT By: Agencies

India and Afghanistan are actively exploring run-of-the river projects on Afghanistan’s eastern rivers.

Of particular interest is river Kabul, Times of India said in a report quoting senior Indian officials, speaking off record.

River Kabul has some features identical to River Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir, including similar recorded average flow of around 23 million acre feet and is trying to persuade Afghanistan to build run of the river projects over it.

In retaliation to Uri attacks, India had upped the ante by giving the go-ahead to three run of-the-river projects on river Chenab. These had earlier been put on hold due to objections raised by Pakistan under the Indus Waters Treaty.

Indian officials claim that Pakistan does not have any treaty with Afghanistan. The rules governing flows of Afghanistan’s eastern rivers, mainly Kabul, Kunnar and Chitral, into Pakistan are just some internationally accepted principles.

“By helping Afghanistan build some of these run-of-the-river projects, India will end up sending a very strong signal to Pakistan. So we need to examine the fallout closely,” an official familiar with the issue said.

When Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani visited India last month, officials said, he specifically raised the possibility of developing Afghanistan’s eastern river system while conveying gratitude on India completing the Salma dam project despite serious terror threats.

The two sides are in touch on this subject, said officials, adding that quiet official-level deliberations and visits are underway to discuss specific projects. Ghani is slated to be back in India in December first week to inaugurate the Heart of Asia ministerial meet on Afghanistan in Amritsar.

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