India-Pak to discuss Indus waters
Permanent Indus Commission meet commences today
New Delhi, Mar 28 : Pakistan’s objections over the designs of some of India’s hydropower projects along with other issues related to the Indus Waters Treaty are likely to be discussed during the two-day meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission here starting tomorrow, sources said.
India’s Indus water commissioner P K Saxena, technical experts and a representative of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will be part of the Indian delegation for the annual meeting.
Pakistan’s six-member delegation, led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, has already arrived here for the Commission’s 114th meeting, which will take place in the backdrop of the continuing tension between the two countries over a host of issues, including the alleged harassment of diplomats.
The PIC is an established mechanism under the IWT, which mandates it to establish and maintain cooperative arrangements for the implementation of the water distribution pact and to promote cooperation between the two sides in the development of the Indus water systems.
“Pakistan has objections over designs of some of India’s projects. Their objections have been there since 2012. These issues may come up for discussion. There will also be routine exchange of information between the two countries,” an official source told PTI.
According to the sources, Pakistan has been expressing concerns over India’s Ratle (850 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) projects — located in the Chenab basin – contending that they violate the IWT, signed in 1960.
India continues to maintain its position that designs of the projects are very much in accordance with the treaty, the source said.
The sources said that the issues concerning the 340 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project, located on river Jhelum’s tributary in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, may not figure during the meeting since the project has already been commissioned.
The IWT covers the water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers — Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
The treaty specifies that waters from the three western rivers — Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — are reserved for Pakistan, while waters from eastern rivers — Ravi, Sutlej and Beas — are for reserved for India.
The PIC had last met in March 2017 in Islamabad. The meeting of the PIC is held alternately in India and Pakistan at least once every year as mandated by the treaty.