India And Pakistan Hold Talks On Indus Water Sharing

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India and Pakistan returned to the dialogue table, with the annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) in New Delhi.

Discussions continued on designs of two Indian projects, namely, Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW). The Indian side held that these projects are fully compliant with the provisions of the Treaty and provided technical data in support of its position.

While the Pakistan side requested India for sharing information on the design of other Indian hydropower projects being planned to be developed. The Indian side assured that the information will be provided as and when required to be supplied under the provisions of the Treaty.

The meeting was held in a cordial manner, as per a press release issued by the MEA. Both the Commissioners reaffirmed their commitment to interact more frequently in an attempt to resolve the issues by bilateral discussions under the Treaty. It was agreed to hold the next meeting of the PIC in Pakistan on mutually convenient dates.

NewsMobile breaks down the significance of the meeting.

Why is the meet significant?

India and Pakistan held these talks after a gap of more than two-and-a-half years. A discussion on Pakistan’s objections about two Indian projects — Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai – was held. Routine issues pertaining to data exchange were brought up as well.

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What is the Indus Waters Treaty?

A little over 60 years ago, on September 19, 1960, the Indus Waters Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan to share waters from the Indus rivers system.

Why is the Indus Waters Treaty Necessary?

When undivided India was partitioned in 1947, the Indus river system was effectively cut into two. Questions were raised on how both the countries would develop their irrigation systems. The two governments decided that Pakistan would have access to the Jhelum, Chenab, and the Indus itself, while India would use water from the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers.

Past Water Conflict Between India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan have engaged in a long outstanding water dispute over two hydroelectric projects.
Pakistan has raised objection to the building of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants by India, saying that it violates the provisions of the treaty. India insists on its right to build these projects and hold that their design is fully in compliance with the guidelines of the treaty.
The World Bank had asked both countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements over the Indus Water Treaty Dispute in 1960.

Under the Indus Waters Treaty, the two commissioners are directed to meet at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan. However, last year’s meeting was canceled in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

(With inputs from ANI)

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