The two-day Indus Waters talks have started in Islamabad, Pakistan today. The Indus Waters Treaty has become a major bone of contention between the two countries.
The Indus Waters Talks
The primary purpose of Indus Waters Talks is to address the concerns of Pakistan as a country most impacted by India’s construction of dams in the Indian occupied Kashmir.
Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Asif has urged the two nuclear-armed neighbors to respect Indus Waters Treaty.
The current Indus Waters Talks make up for the 113th meeting in Islamabad.
The Indian Delegation consists of a 10-member team. India’s Water Commissioner P K Saxena is leading the Indian delegation.
Indus Waters Talks Agent 2017
Pakistan is currently worried about three upstream projects by India including Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai, and Miyar. Pakistan is interested in assessing the design of these hydropower plants.
This meeting between India and Pakistan taking place after a two-year gap. IWT regulations make it mandatory for the two countries to meet at least once a year.
The last Indus Waters Talks held in 2015 resulted in Pakistan raising objections over designs of the three projects constructed by India on River Chenab. A meeting expected in 2016 was canceled on New Delhi’s insistence on Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the Uri attacks.
Here is what the Minister for Water and Power had to say about Pakistan and India’s position on the IWT.
“We want India to share designs of the three projects [hydroelectric plants] with Pakistan because it is our right to raise objections to the projects if they are damaging our interests. When we went to the court of arbitration our position was not as strong as it could have been if we had approached the court in a timely manner. Pakistan’s position on the Ratle project is very strong.”
India has so far not cooperated with Pakistan to resolve the problem of India’s proposed power projects. Pakistan approached World Bank to address the issue. However, India conveyed to World Bank that it would solve the issue of Indus Waters by discussing it bilaterally with Pakistan.
Pakistan also asked the United States to intervene and help the country resolve this outstanding problem with India.
Two of the Indus Basin rivers, Indus and Sutlej, start from China and flow through India before coming to Pakistan. Four other rivers, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas, and Chenab, flow from India and come into Pakistan.
The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a hard stance towards Pakistan. He is trying to create an illusion that water of Pakistani rivers also belongs to the Indian farmers. In one of his addresses to Punjab farmers during the recent election, he also vowed to bring the Pakistan’s water to Indian Punjab’s farmers by annulling the Indus Waters Treaty.