Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Indo-Pak Indus Water Commission conference to today begin in Islamabad

Indo-Pak Indus Water Commission conference to today begin in Islamabad

The two-day meeting of the Indus Water Commission began Monday in Islamabad and officials said the discussions focused on designs of three controversial hydropower projects India plans to build on the Chenab River. He said dialogue relating to Indus Waters Treaty was suspended in 2015 and are now taking place after nearly a two-year break.

Despite various media statements causing speculations, Pakistan showed restraint and kept on making efforts for resumption of commission level talks.

Pakistan contends that the projects were violating the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, which granted control over three "eastern" rivers was given to India, namely the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej, while control over the three "western" rivers, namely the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan.

Mr Asif said the meeting would discuss the design aspects of Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants and flood data supply by India.

Despite the troubled relations between Pakistan and India and the Indus Waters Treaty has been executed peacefully, even throughout wars and upheavals between the neighbouring nations. Article IX deals with arbitration of disputes between both the countries concerning the interpretation or application of the treaty.

Pakistan had also approached the World Bank in August past year raising issues over Kishanganga and Ratle projects in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

After the first day of talks, officials on both sides said the meeting was held in a cordial manner, and they had frank discussions. The IWT makes it mandatory for the two countries to hold talks at least once a year.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday welcomed re-initiation of talks with India on water issues after hiatus of two years, pledging to defend its rights with full zeal and vigour.

Pakistan has rejected the Indian Indus Water Commissioner's proposal, as the matter has already been taken to the World Bank for the resolution of dispute.

Another meeting planned in September 2016 was cancelled due to tension following the Uri terror attack by Pakistan- based outfits.

Asked whether the delay in reaching consensus over agenda for the meeting will leave little time to resolve issues, the official replied in negative.

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