Indo-Pak water talks put off due to tension

DP

Talks between the Water Secretaries of India and Pakistan, scheduled to be held in Islamabad during January 28-29, have been put off in the wake of tensions between the neighbours over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

"The talks have been postponed. New dates for the talks are yet to be decided," an official of Pakistan's Foreign Office told PTI.

The official, who did not wish to be identified, did not specify reasons for the postponement of the parleys.

The two sides were scheduled to discuss the Tulbul navigation project-Wullar Barrage issue during the talks.

Reports in sections of the Pakistani media cited sources as saying that the cancellation of the talks was linked to the recent spurt in tensions between the two countries.

However, reports from New Delhi said the move was apparently linked to the retirement of Water Resources Secretary D V Singh, who is set to step down at the end of this month.

This is the second high-level bilateral interaction that has been put off because of bad atmospherics between India and Pakistan over a string of clashes along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir that left two Indian soldiers dead and their bodies badly mutilated.

Pakistan claimed three of its soldiers were killed in fighting described as the worst violations of the ceasefire put in place along the LoC in 2003.

Earlier this month, Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim called off a scheduled visit to India to attend a business meet in Agra.

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