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Pakistan, India vow to implement Indus Waters Treaty in ‘true spirit’

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Islamabad and New Delhi have reiterated to implement Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) following the 117th meeting of the India-Pakistan Permanent Indus Commission (PIC).

The meeting was held in Islamabad from March 1-3, according to an official statement issued on Tuesday.

Under the relevant provisions of the IWT 1960, the meeting takes place alternatively in Pakistan and India annually.

The Indian delegation comprising 10 members was headed by the Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters PK Saxena, while Pakistan’s delegation was led by Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.

The entire gamut of water-related issues between Pakistan and India were discussed in the meeting.

Pakistan reiterated its observations on the Kiru Hydroelectric project (HEP) located upstream river Chenab and India’s new run-of-the-river small HEPs on Western rivers. Response to Pakistan’s objections to Indian projects including Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai was also sought, read the communiqué.

The Indian side was also urged to communicate advance flood-flow information as per the provisions of the treaty and the practice in vogue from 1989 until 2018.

“Both sides reiterated their commitment to implement the Indus Waters Treaty in its true spirit and expressed the hope that the next meeting of the commission would be held at an early date in India,” it added.

Also read: Second round of water talks with India remain inconclusive

The second round of high level talks between Islamabad and New Delhi on the construction of hydropower projects by India in the disputed border areas of China, India and Pakistan, including Kargil, remained inconclusive on Wednesday.

India has categorically rejected Pakistan's concerns over the provision of data on the flow of eastern rivers Ravi, Satluj and Beas as per the 1989 data-sharing arrangement.

The second round of talks began with a 45-minute delay. For security reasons, security officials prevented Pakistani Indus Water Commissioner Syed Mehar Ali Shah from entering the premises at a local hotel in Islamabad.

As a result of this, the Pakistani commissioner went back to the Ministry of Water Resources due to misconduct by security personnel. Later, with the intervention of senior officials, Pakistan's Indus Water Commissioner chaired a high-level meeting on water resources.

In the first round of talks, Shah, along with his Indian counterpart, conveyed technical concerns over the construction of the 644 MW Khetro Hydropower Project on the Chenab River by India.

Pakistan's position on the controversial project was that the design of the project could affect the flow of the Chenab River in Pakistan. This will have a direct impact on the agricultural areas adjacent to Head Marala, a major reservoir near Sialkot.

According to sources, the tussle between the Indus Water Commissioners of the two countries started at the time when the Pakistani Indus Water commissioner presented his position to his Indian counterpart regarding the provision of data on the flow of eastern rivers to Pakistan.

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