LAHORE - Pakistan on Monday rejected an Indian offer to hold talks on the controversial hydro power projects, calling it a trap by New Delhi to buy time for completing the projects.

The offer, made through a letter, comes just a day after New Delhi sabotaged the broader peace talks between the two countries.

“We will not walk into the trap,” said an authoritative official who is aware of the communication.

“We will go for the third party arbitration as provided in the agreement between the two countries,” he told The Nation on Sunday.

India is building Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (with 330MW power production capacity) and Ratle Hydroelectric Plant (850MW) in Occupied Kashmir on the rivers flowing into Pakistan.

Islamabad had raised objection on the design of these projects, saying they will obstruct the flow of water to a degree that violates the Indus Water Treaty, signed between the two countries on sharing the water of Indus River tributaries.

The last date for Pakistan to wait for the response from India to agree on the appointment of neutral expert was August 23. Now Islamabad will approach the World Bank at any time. Being broker of the water treaty, it is mandatory for the international institution to appoint an expert on request of Pakistan and decide the matter.

Kishanganga project is designed to divert water from river Kishanganga to a power plant on Jhelum River basin. It is located 5km north of Bandipore in occupied Kashmir.

Ratle project is located at Chenab River in the Indian-held valley.

“There is nothing new in their (India) letter. It is not a serious response to our objections on the projects. India is only using delaying tactics,” the official said.

The government had written a letter on July 24 to India and proposed appointment of an international expert to decide the issue. India was bound to reply the Pakistan’s offer within 30 days under the agreement.

However, New Delhi did not show seriousness on Pakistan’s objections rather it speeded up work on both the projects.

“They (India) know well our concerns on the design parameters of these projects. We conveyed them thrice.”

The official said the acceptance of India’s offer of talks would mean restart of the whole process from the beginning which Pakistan could not afford at the time when the neighboring country has already speeded up construction work on the projects.

The Indus Water Commission of Pakistan has objection on the depth of spillways of the Kishanganga dam as India cannot do this under the Indus Water Treaty.

Similarly, it repeatedly raised issue of setting up of lower spillways at Ratle Project.

Water experts believe the stand of Pakistan is strong in light of the decision of Hague’s court about the construction of KHEP. Though India had been given go ahead for the construction of the dam by the court in December 20, 2013, it clearly defined the design parameters of the future projects.

Besides the two projects, Pakistan had raised concern on design of three other projects being built by India on River Chenab. These projects are: 1,000MW Pakal Dul, 120MW Miyar and 48MW Lower Kalnai.

However, it is yet to be unknown that either Indus Water Commissions of both the countries will continue talk on the three projects and resolve the issue or the cases will move in the World Bank too.