Pakistan, India to resume water talks today

Pakistan, India to resume water talks today
In this file photo, Indus river. (AFP)
Updated 27 January 2019

Pakistan, India to resume water talks today

Pakistan, India to resume water talks today
  • The three member delegation of experts is being led by Indus Water Commissioner Mehr Ali Shah and will leave for India via the Wagah border
  • Inspection may not be limited to Lower Kulnai and Pakal Dal

ISLAMABAD: A three member Pakistani delegation is scheduled to travel to India today (Sunday) on a six-day official visit to resume talks on resolving the water dispute between the two countries under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed by them in 1960.

The Pakistani delegation of experts is being led by Indus Water Commissioner Mehr Ali Shah and will leave for India via the Wagah border. 

Experts will inspect the construction of the Indian hydroelectric projects, Lower Kulnai and Pakal Dal, in the Chenab basin as mandated by the IWT.

After the 115th meeting of the Permanent Commission for Indus Waters (PCIW) that took place in Lahore in August last year, India had scheduled the inspection by Pakistani experts first in September and then in October. Later, however, the inspections were postponed on the pretext of local bodies’ elections in the concerned areas.

During the discussions that took place in Lahore last year, Pakistan demanded India to modify its design for the 1000 MW Pakal Dul and 48MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects on River Chenab as per the IWT or halt the projects.

The said treaty was signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, finally settling with the World Bank being a guarantor signatory. 

The treaty sets out mechanisms for cooperation and information exchange for Pakistan and India regarding their use of the rivers. Under the provisions of the treaty, 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, except for certain non-consumptive uses for India.

According to Shah, the inspection may not be limited to Lower Kulnai and Pakal Dal. “Indian authorities have also hinted at allowing the inspection of other controversial projects during the January 27 to February 1 visit,” said the Indus Water Commissioner.

While he said India was not initially ready for the talks but, as agreed during their talks in Lahore, all issues pertaining to the water dispute between the two countries would be resolved under the IWT.