Pak-India water talks this month may hit snag

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LAHORE:

New Delhi’s stubbornness over Pakistan-India water disputes persists as it is yet to respond to a letter sent from Islamabad even after the passage of a month.

A meeting of water experts from both sides is scheduled to be held in New Delhi this month, but now it seems that the talks would be delayed.

A three-day meeting of water experts from both the countries was held on March 1 in Islamabad.

According to sources, it was agreed in that meeting to hold talks in New Delhi in May.

The Indus Water Commission will soon write a second letter to its Indian counterpart to convene a meeting.

Islamabad has objections over New Delhi’s plans to build projects on Chenab River in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), the sources added.

The sources said India had also approved the launch of illegal water projects on the Indus River.

The construction of water projects by India will reduce the flow of water in Pakistan’s rivers.

In March, Islamabad and New Delhi had reiterated to implement the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) following the 117th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission.

Under the relevant provisions of the IWT 1960, the meeting takes place alternatively in Pakistan and India annually.

The New Delhi’s delegation comprising 10 members was headed by Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters PK Saxena, while Islamabad’s delegation was led by Pakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.

Pakistan had reiterated its observations on the Kiru Hydroelectric project (HEP) located upstream river Chenab. Pakistan’s position on the controversial project was that the design of the project could affect the flow of the Chenab River in Pakistan. This will have a direct impact on the agricultural areas adjacent to Head Marala, a major reservoir near Sialkot. Islamabad also raised its objection on New Delhi’s new run-of-the-river small HEPs on Western rivers.

“Response to Pakistan’s objections to Indian projects including Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai was also sought,” read the communiqué issued after the meeting.

The Indian side was also urged to communicate advance flood-flow information as per the provisions of the treaty and the practice in vogue from 1989 until 2018.

“Both sides reiterated their commitment to implement the Indus Waters Treaty in its true spirit and expressed the hope that the next meeting of the commission would be held at an early date in India,” it added.

India has categorically rejected Pakistan’s concerns over the provision of data on the flow of eastern rivers Ravi, Satluj and Beas as per the 1989 data-sharing arrangement.

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Originally published at tribune.com.pk

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