By Muhammad Luqman
India and Pakistan will hold two-day water talks on Wednesday as a nine member delegation led by Indian Indus Water Commissioner, P.K. Saxena arrived in Lahore , the eastern city of Pakistan after crossing Wagha international border on Tuesday afternoon.
The last meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission was held in Indian capital, New Delhi in March during which both the sides had shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.
India and Pakistan will resume their talks on various aspects of the crucial Indus Waters Treaty, the first bilateral engagement since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office. India’s Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena is scheduled to begin the two-day discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Syed Mehr Ali Shah on Wednesday.
Pakistan will reiterate its serious objections over construction of 1000-MW Pakal Dul and 48-MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects by India on two different tributaries of River Chenab in the Occupied valley.
In a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed India’s resolve to build good neighbourly relations between the two countries. India and Pakistan would also finalise the schedule of future meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission and visits of the teams of the Indus commissioners.
The water commissioners of both the countries are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.
The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, brokered by the World Bank and signed by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s president Ayub Khan, administers how the water of the Indus river and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised. Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960, waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi — had been allocated to India and the western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — to Pakistan.
Islamabad had been raising objections over the design of the Kishanganga hydroelectric project, saying it is not in line with the criteria laid down under the Indus Waters Treaty between the two countries.
The Kishanganga project was started in 2007 but on May 17, 2010, Pakistan moved for international arbitration against India under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.