India, Pakistan hold Indus Water Commission talks
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Islamabad: Officials from India and Pakistan discussed problems relating to Indus Basin at the two-day Indus Water Commission meeting which began in Islamabad on Monday after a gap of nearly two years.
The 10-member Indian delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner P.K. Saxena held a close door meeting with the Pakistani side which was headed by Mirza Asif Saeed.
During the meeting, Pakistan was expected to highlight concerns about the three Indian hydro projects being built on the rivers flowing to Pakistan. They are 1000 MW Pakul Dul on Chenab, 120 MW Miyar, located across Miyar Nalla which is a right bank main tributary of River Chenab and the 43 MW Lower Kalnai hydro project on Lower Kalnai Nalla, a tributary of river Chenab.
Pakistan contends that the projects were violating the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, which has come under strain during the current tension between the two sides. Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai are being built in Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of Rs7,464 crore (November 2008 price level) and Rs396 crore respectively. Miyar hydroelectricity project, located in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Spiti district, is estimated to cost Rs1,125 crore.
Today’s meeting is the 113th session of the Permanent Indus Waters Commission which was established in 1960. The last meeting of the commission was held in 2015. Another meeting planned in September 2016 was cancelled due to tension following the Uri terror attack by Pakistan-based outfits.
Pakistan’s minister for water and power Khawaja Asif said that Indus Waters Treaty is one of world agreements, which provides an amicable solution of serious water issues between Pakistan and India.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, Asif on Monday said secretary level talks on the Ratle hydroelectric plant will begin on 12th of next month in Washington between the two countries.
Asif expressed the hope that things will move in the positive direction as a result of meeting between Permanent Indus Commissioners of Pakistan and India. He said outstanding problems relating to Indus Basin will be discussed during the meeting, Radio Pakistan reported.
Khawaja Asif said the two-day meeting will discuss the design aspects of Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants, flood data supply by India. He said Pakistan has welcomed the readiness of India for talks at Indus Water Commissioners level. To a question, he said Pakistan is pressing for implementation of arbitration court’s decision on Kishanganga. PTI