India, Pakistan Indus Commissioners to meet tomorrow in New Delhi

New Delhi: India and Pakistan will hold a meeting in Delhi to discuss the Indus water sharing issue on March 23-24. The meet, an annual affair, is being held after two years. Officials of India and Pakistan will discuss water sharing issues and address each other’s concerns.

India has cleared several hydropower projects in Ladakh while Pakistan has raised objection against them. A delegation of Pakistani officials will reach India around 10 am on Monday.

Pakistan had said that its delegation of water experts would visit India to attend the meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission and discuss various water-related issues.

The 116th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission will be held in New Delhi on March 23 and 24, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry had said earlier.

“A host of issues under the treaty, including our objections on the designs of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai Hydroelectric Plants, supply of information on new Indian projects on the western rivers and supply of flood data by India, will be discussed,” he said.

Pakistan’s Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Meher Ali Shah will lead the delegation while the Indian delegation will be led by India’s Indus Commissioner PK Saxena with his advisors from the Central Water Commission, Central Electricity Authority and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation.

Under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, both the commissioners are required to meet at least once a year alternately in India and Pakistan.

This will also be the first meeting between the two commissioners after the nullification of special provisions under Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The state was later carved into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

India and Pakistan signed a treaty for sharing of river waters of the Indus drainage system in 1960. The agreement was mediated by the World Bank and named as the Indus Waters Treaty.

Under this treaty, Pakistan got a favourable division of waters of the six rivers of the Indus system. Pakistan was given rivers that had greater volumes of flowing water.

India was allocated the waters of the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi the three less voluminous eastern tributaries of the Indus. More voluminous rivers, the Indus and its western tributaries, the Jhelum and Chenab went to Pakistan.

The distribution of river waters gave India a share of about 20 per cent or about 3.3 crore of 16.8 crore acre-feet of estimated water in the Indus system. India has never utilised full share of the Indus waters allocated to it. (PTI)

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