Indus talks: Indian team leaves for Pak

Water under the bridge

The 10-member Indian delegation, led by Indus Water Commissioner PK Saxena, held a closed-door meeting with the Pakistani side.

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

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

According to the statement, the Government of Pakistan "appreciates the decision of the Indian government to resume regular talks and welcomes the Indian delegation to Islamabad". "If the 12 projects get completed, they will store 4.7 million acre-feet of water squeezing the flow in the river reaching Pakistan".

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.

The agenda of this year's meeting includes deliberations on Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants designs, flood data supply by India and programme of tours of inspection and meetings by Pakistan and India to the sites of their interest in the Indus basin.

It comprises the Indus Commissioners from both sides and discusses technical matters related to the implementation of the treaty. Article IX deals with arbitration of disputes between both the countries concerning the interpretation or application of the treaty. But the World Bank announced late a year ago that Pakistan and India should hold bilateral talks. Meanwhile, the Pakistani team will be headed by Pakistani Commissioner for the Indus Water, Mirza Asad Saeed and would be assisted by the Ministry of Water and Power among other experts. The delegation is going to take part in the two-day meeting.

Pakistan has been calling for a result-orientated dialogue with India on all outstanding issues but India suspended the talks in the wake of September 18, 2016 Uri attack.

Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to revoke the 57-year-old Indus Water Treaty. "We always go into such meetings with optimistic mindset".

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