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March 20, 2017

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Pak-India water talks resume today

Pak-India water talks resume today

Indian delegation reaches Islamabad; Pakistan says it will continue making efforts for resolution of issues according to Indus Waters Treaty; expects other side will reciprocate the goodwill

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday said it believed that continuation of purposeful talks with sincere efforts from both sides would lead to resolution of the matters at the Permanent Indus Commission level in accordance with the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty which was a symbol of peaceful management of trans-boundary resources.

The press statement was issued in connection with the 113th Meeting of Permanent Indus Commission, which begins today (Monday).

It said Pakistan would continue making efforts for resolution of the matters according to the Indus Waters Treaty provisions and “expects that our goodwill will be reciprocated by the Indian side”.

The official statement appreciated India’s decision to resume the regular talks and welcomed the Indian delegation to Islamabad.

The two-day meeting is taking place after almost two years, with the last round held in May 2015. The long pause occurred after Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commissioner announced the failure of the talks after protracted discussions at commission level in 111th meeting of PIC in Jan-Feb 2015 on the design aspects of Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants that India is constructing on Kishanganga/ Neelum River (a tributary of Jhelum River) and Chenab River respectively.

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.

After a two-day meeting between the secretary water and power and the Indian secretary for water resources in New Delhi on July last year, the two disputed matters have been referred for third party resolution through the World Bank. Pakistan has been pursuing the matter of regular meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission with India to bring the other remaining issues under discussion.

Despite various media statements causing speculations, Pakistan showed restraint and kept on making efforts for resumption of commission level talks.

The agenda of the two-day talks includes discussions on the design aspects of Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants, flood data supply by India and the tour programme of inspection and meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of their interest in the Indus Basin, the statement concluded.

Our correspondent adds from Lahore: Earlier, a 10-member delegation of Indian Indus Waters Commission led by PK Saxena arrived through the Wagah border to take part in the meeting. Later, the delegation members and their host left for federal capital soon after their arrival on Sunday.

During the talks, both sides will also discuss arrangements regarding communication of advance information of water flow during the coming flood season.

Moreover, Pakistan will put forward a proposal of deploying a monitoring mechanism to assess the adverse affects of climate change on the water flows of Indus rivers system during the meeting.

As per the fourth point of agenda of the 113th meeting of Permanent Indus Waters Commission, Pakistan has communicated to India that discussion would be held on the monitoring of the parameters relevant to the climate change for the Indus system’s rivers.

“As climate change would influence the flow of the rivers, so it cannot be excluded from the treaty framework,” said a senior official of Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commission.

“Furthermore, Paragraph 29 of Annexure G of Indus Waters Treaty mentions the international conventions and customary international law. Under these, the environment and climate change cannot be excluded,” he added.

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