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Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
World | By Ernestine Jimenez

Indus Water Treaty must be protected: National Farmers Conference

Indus Water Treaty must be protected: National Farmers Conference

A 10-member team from India has arrived in Islamabad to attend the two-day 113th session of the Permanent Indus Waters Commission. The Pakistan side will be headed by Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Saeed and he will be assisted by officials of Ministry of Water and Power and other experts. Indian and Pakistan have been at loggerheads about the Indus Water treaty, both countries wanting more out of the deal.

The two-day meeting is taking place after nearly two years, with the last round held in May 2015.

Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif told a news conference, minutes before the talks began, the two-day negotiations would focus on three controversial projects over Chenab.

The agenda of this year's meeting includes deliberations on Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants designs, flood data supply by India and programme of tours of inspection and meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of their interest in the Indus basin.

The treaty which was signed in 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin, the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej while Pakistan has the three western rivers, the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.

According to the statement, the Government of Pakistan "appreciates the decision of the Indian government to resume regular talks and welcomes the Indian delegation to Islamabad".

The talks were suspended in May 2015 after the Pakistani Commissioner objected to the designs of the Kishenganga and the Ratle hydropower projects of India.

In September last Pakistan approached the World Bank amid Indian threat to revoke the 56-year-old treaty and requested for Arbitration Article IX of the IWT.

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. Pakistan had already taken up both the issues at the World Bank level, he said.

Despite the troubled relations between Pakistan and India and the Indus Waters Treaty has been executed peacefully, even throughout wars and upheavals between the neighbouring nations. But these talks are mandatory under IWT, and if India fails to hold the talks till March 31, it shall be violating the treaty.

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