Pakistan, India to hold water talks today
LAHORE: A delegation of Pakistani water officials has left for India today (Sunday) for inspection of India’s contentious hydroelectric projects, being built at Chenab river, ARY News reported.
A three-member Pakistani delegation is led by Indus Water Commissioner Mehr Ali Shah. The visit starts on Jan 27 and ends on Feb 1.
The water officials of Pakistan and India will meet after about five months since August last year talks when the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power. The delegation will travel to India through the Wagah border and hold talks under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) signed by the leaders of the two countries in 1960.
In previous round of talks in Lahore, the officials of Pakistan and India were failed to gain any progress over the river water dispute.
During talks, Pakistan had expressed reservations over construction of 1000-MW Pakal Dul and 48-MW Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects on two different tributaries of River Chenab by India.
The talks ended in a stalemate due to lack of flexibility from India, however, the Indian side led by its water commissioner PK Sexena was agreed that all issues between the two countries would be resolved under the Indus Water Treaty.
The country, later invited Pakistani officials to visit and inspect the two hydro-electric power projects.
Pakistani officials will inspect the Lower Kulnai and Pakal Dal projects being constructed over the Chenab River.
Indian Prime Minister Modi, on several occasions, has vehemently announced to scrap Indus Waters Treaty, an agreement signed between India and Pakistan in 1960.
The Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was formed under Indus Waters Treaty, it includes the Indus commissioners of both the countries. The treaty provides both the commissioners to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan.
The treaty specifies that the waters of three eastern rivers namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, had been reserved for India while that of western rivers, namely Indus, Chenab and Jhelum, are for Pakistan.
However, India claims it has unrestricted rights to develop hydroelectric power projects on the western rivers, within the specified parameters of design.
Pakistan says that the design of two under-construction hydroelectric projects on Chenab Pakal Dul (1000MW) and Lower Kalnai (48MW), violate the river water treaty, while the Indian officials insist on their right to build these projects and holds that their design is fully in compliance to the guidelines of the treaty.