ISLAMABAD - Talks between the water secretaries of Pakistan and India, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on Jan 28-29, have been put off. The two sides were scheduled to discuss the Tulbul navigation project-Wullar Barrage during the talks.

“The talks have been postponed. New dates for the talks are yet to be decided,” an official of Pakistan’s Foreign Office told Press Trust of India (PTI). The official, who did not wish to be identified, did not specify reasons for postponement of talks.

Usman Cheema adds: The recent tension between Pakistan and India might be dragged longer by Delhi as it can benefit from this hostility to complete the controversial Wullar Barrage on the River Jhelum without settling the issue with Islamabad. The latest move by India to call off secretary-level meeting that was scheduled for Jan 28 might be intended to prolong the issue.

 It is worth mentioning here that India always opted for talks instead of fighting the case in the International Arbitration Court and insisted that the matter could be resolved through bilateral talks that never happened.

The living example is that India has resumed work on Wullar Barrage in clear violation of Indus Water Treaty and is playing a drama of talks with Pakistan. The parliamentary secretary for water and power had also admitted in the National Assembly that India had resumed work on the barrage.

An official, while talking to The Nation, said that India started this barrage in 1985, but over strong reservations of Pakistan, the work on the dam remained suspended. Now they are started building the barrage again and Kamal Majeedullah who is directly answerable to the prime minister is also playing talks’ drama with India, but these talks will never yield results, he said.

The official said the present talks which were going to be held between the secretaries of both the countries had only one-point agenda that was Wullar Barrage. The last round of talks was held in March in Delhi.

He said, “I bet the work on the dam would not be stopped by India and the recent tensions between the two countries would benefit India as it would get plenty of time to complete it as much as possible to have a better stand in the International Court.