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. A 10-member team from India has arrived in Islamabad to attend the two-day 113th session of the Permanent Indus Waters Commission.
The Indian delegation led by Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena comprises of Ministry of External Affairs officials and technical experts. 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.
According to reports, Pakistan would highlight concerns about the three Indian hydro projects being built on the rivers flowing to Pakistan.
They are 1000 MW Pakul Dul on Chenab, 120 MW Miyar, located across Miyar Nalla which is a right bank main tributary of River Chenab, and the 43 MW Lower Kalnai hydro project on Lower Kalnai Nalla, a tributary of river Chenab.
Pakistan contends that the projects were violating the Indus Water Treaty of 1960, which granted control over three ‘eastern’ rivers was given to India, namely the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej, while control over the three ‘western’ rivers, namely the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum was given to Pakistan.
Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai are being built in Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of Rs 7,464 crore November 2008 price level) and Rs 396 crore respectively. Miyar hydroelectricity project, located in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Spiti district, is estimated to cost Rs 1,125 crore.
The last meeting of the commission was held in 2015. Another meeting planned in September 2016 was cancelled due to tension due to Uri terror attack by Pakistan-based outfits.
Established in 1960 and brokered by the World Bank, the Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution agreement between India and Pakistan regarding the usage of waters from the Indus basin. After the partition, Pakistan expressed concerns that since the source rivers of the Indus basin were in India, they may be used to create droughts and famines in Pakistan during war times. As a result the Indus Waters Treaty was formed.
Inputs from PTI