India, Pakistan to hold meeting of PIC in Islamabad

  • India, Pakistan to hold meeting of PIC in Islamabad

India, Pakistan to hold meeting of PIC in Islamabad

The Indus Waters Treaty that is 57 years old had assigned River Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej to India and River Chenab, Jehlum, and Sindh to Pakistan.

A 10-member Indian delegation arrived here on Sunday to take part in the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) beginning on March 20 in Islamabad. The delegation comprises of Ministry of External Affairs officials and technical experts.

"We will not hold any talks on both the controversial projects (Ratle and Kishanganga) because their case has already been referred to World Bank", said an official of Indus Water Commissioner office of Pakistan.

The last meeting of the commission took place in May 2015, but a spike in political and military tensions prevented the two sides from holding the usually-annual meeting in 2016.

Today's meeting is the 113th session of the Permanent Indus Waters Commission which was established in 1960.

The agenda of the two-day talks includes discussions on the design aspects of Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants, flood data supply by India and the tour programme of inspection and meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of their interest in the Indus Basin, the statement concluded.

"We want India to share designs of the three projects [hydroelectric plants] with Pakistan because it is our right to raise objections to the projects if they are damaging our interests", he said while responding to a question.

The two countries have been locked in military skirmishes across the Kashmir border in recent months, raising fears of another war between India and Pakistan. Pakistani officials said the meeting was held in cordial atmosphere.

Pakistani Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif welcomed the Indian decision to attend the talks and said he hoped the meeting would help resolve bilateral issues under the IWT framework.

Initially, it was said that Ratle hydroelectric project will not be discussed but Pakistan side said that it was also discussed in the meeting. "If the 12 projects get completed, they will store 4.7 million acre-feet of water squeezing the flow in the river reaching Pakistan".

It said Pakistan would continue making efforts for resolution of the matters according to the Indus Waters Treaty provisions and "expects that our goodwill will be reciprocated by the Indian side". The World Bank had brokered the agreement and have a role in dispute resolution.

He expressed the desire that the bilateral relations between the two countries would continue to grow in years to come. Another meeting planned in September 2016 was cancelled due to tension due to Uri terror attack by Pakistan-based outfits.

He further added that delays had been witnessed in the past in the handling of the Kishanganga project.