NEW DELHI: Amid growing water scarcity and against the backdrop of strained ties, India and Pakistan reiterated their commitment to resolve cross border river water sharing issues through discussions under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.
The two-day 118th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), comprising the Indus commissioners of India and Pakistan, was held in New Delhi.
The Indian side was led by AK Pal, India’s commissioner for Indus Waters while Muhammad Mehr Ali Shah, Pakistan’s commissioner of Indus Water, led a six-member Pakistan delegation comprising Sahibzad Khan, Habib Ullah Bodla, Khalid Mehmood and Sarman Muneeb.
They also finalised and signed the annual report of the Permanent Indus Commission for the year ending on 31 March 2022.
The Pakistani side tabled sharing of flood forecast data and asked the Indian side to review the flood situation in Pakistan. The Indian side assured visiting the flood site and reviewing the situation during the coming flood season, sources in Pakistani officials told The New Indian.
Pakistan in the previous round of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission objected to India’s construction of Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnaj dams. The Pakistani side, prior to the meeting was informed that they won’t visit any of those two dams in India.
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“A wide range of water-related issues between Pakistan and India were discussed which included the advance sharing of flood information, the program of tours and inspections and signing of the report of the Permanent Indus Commission for the year ending March 31, 2022,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said after the meeting.
“Pakistan also highlighted its objections to India’s Hydroelectric projects on the Western rivers. Response to Pakistan’s objections to Indian projects including Pakal Dul was also sought. The Indian side was also urged to communicate advanced flood-flow information as per the provisions of the Treaty and the practice in vogue from 1989 until 2018,” it added.
“India also assured that Pakistan’s outstanding objections would be discussed in the next meeting as the Indian side is still in the process of examining the details. 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 Pakistan,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs further added.
Under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) 1960, Pakistan and India meet annually at least once a year in each other’s country. The Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission appreciated the commitment of India and Pakistan to interact frequently and mitigate all the disputes through talks under the IWT.