India, Pakistan to hold Indus Water Commission talks

Claudine Rigal
Mars 21, 2017

The source, however, reiterated that there will be "no compromise" on India exploiting its due rights under the 57-year-old pact.

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.

"As climate change would influence the flow of the rivers, so it can not be excluded from the treaty framework", said a senior official of Pakistan's Indus Waters Commission.

Though India had offered to continue discussing the matters at the commission level, Pakistan could not afford delay in the resolution process as construction of the two projects was in progress. Khawaja Asif said that Secretary level talks on Ratle issue will begin on April 12 in Washington. Indian and Pakistan have been at loggerheads about the Indus Water treaty, both countries wanting more out of the deal.

"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.

"We are working to make changes to the design of the project that are in Pakistan's interest and which are in accordance with the treaty", he said.

Established in 1960 and brokered by the World Bank, the Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution agreement between India and Pakistan regarding the usage of waters from the Indus basin.

"It is a happy augury that of late India has come back to the dialogue table at the Commission level to re-launch the process of peaceful talks".

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.

Pakistan's Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Beg is leading the Pakistani delegation.

While increasing Indian involvement in Afghanistan's water resources was becoming a matter of concern for Pakistan, its water relations with New Delhi plummeted further after India "threatened" to withdraw from the Indus Water Treaty in the wake of the Uri attack in September.

However, there was no official word for the agenda of the two-day meeting between the two countries.

Asif also announced in the press conference that the Neelum-Jhelum project would become operational in March 2018.

Other reports by CampDesrEcrues

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