Press Trust of india

Pak raised objection to India’s 4 hydropower projects during talks: FO

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Islamabad: Pakistan has raised its objection to at least four hydropower projects in India and sought more information from it as Islamabad emphasised the importance of early resolution of the outstanding issues in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, the Foreign Office said here on Thursday.

The 116th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in New Delhi from March 23-24, where a host of issues related to the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) were discussed.

“Pakistan side reiterated its objections to the Indian projects including Pakal Dul, Lower Kulnai, Durbuk Shyok and Nimu Chilling. The Pakistan side also urged the Indian side to share data of water flows as per the provisions of the IWT following the practice in vogue since 1989,” the FO said.

Pakistan emphasised the importance of early resolution of the outstanding issues in accordance with the provisions of the IWT, it said.

Both sides agreed to make endeavours to resolve the issues, conduct tours of inspection and hold the next meeting of the Commission in Pakistan at an early date, the FO added.

Under the relevant provisions of the IWT, the meeting is held annually alternately in Pakistan and India.

During the meeting, India told Pakistan that the designs of the Pakal Dul and the Lower Kalnai hydropower projects in Jammu and Kashmir, over which Islamabad raised objections, are fully compliant with the provisions of the IWT.

“Discussions continued on designs of two Indian projects, namely Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW),” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“The Indian side held that these projects are fully compliant with the provisions of the Treaty and provided technical data in support of its position,” it said.

The annual Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) meeting took place in New Delhi after a gap of over two years. The last meeting had taken place in Lahore in August 2018.

The Indian delegation was led by P K Saxena, India’s Indus Commissioner, and his team included officials from the Central Water Commission, the Central Electricity Authority and the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation.

The Pakistani delegation was led by its Indus Commissioner Syed Muhammad Meher Ali Shah.

The waters of the Indus river and its tributaries are crucial to India and Pakistan and serve as a lifeline for millions of people of the two nations.

This year’s meeting is the first between the two commissioners after the August 2019 nullification of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Last year’s meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi in March was cancelled, a first since the treaty came into being, in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Indus Waters Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi — amounting to around 33 million acre feet (MAF) annually is allocated to India for unrestricted use. The waters of western rivers — Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab — amounting to around 135 MAF annually has been assigned largely to Pakistan.

According to the treaty, India has been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river projects on the western rivers subject to specific criteria for design and operation. The treaty also gives right to Pakistan to raise objections to designs of Indian hydroelectric projects on the western rivers.

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