India and Pakistan have signed an agreement for India to build a dam and a hydro-electric project on the Chenab River in Kashmir.
India and Pakistan have signed an agreement for India to build a dam and a hydro-electric project on the Chenab River in Kashmir. Observers see the signing of the agreement as part of the thaw that has been taking place recently in relations between the two countries.
SYNOPSIS: The signing ceremony at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on Friday (14 April) took just ten minutes. But it had taken much longer, eight years, for the two countries to finally reach agreement. One of the sticking points in the negotiations was a fear by Pakistan that the dam, which is to be built 22 miles (35 kilometres) from its border might affect the flow of water into its irrigation systems. Both sides have now accepted a compromise solution, which involved agreement on technical details relating to the height of the dam and to the location of sluices.
Mr. Agha Shahi, Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Adviser, who signed the document, described the agreement as one of "major importance to both countries". India was represented at the ceremony by their External Affairs Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Bajpayee.
After the signing both ministers exchanged documents. Mr. Shahi, who headed a high level delegation from Pakistan that had earlier had four days of talks with Indian leaders, then read a statement.