India, Pakistan officials start Indus talks in Delhi

India, Pakistan officials start Indus talks in Delhi

India, Pakistan officials start Indus talks in Delhi

The officials of India and Pakistan held 114th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission – a bilateral mechanism to discuss issues related to sharing of water of common rivers on Thursday in New Delhi.

P K Saxena, a senior official of Ministry of Warer Resources and New Delhi's representative to the Permanent Indus Commission, is leading the delegation of India. An official of the Ministry of External Affairs is also a member of the delegation of India. The six-member delegation from Pakistan is led by Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, the representative of Islamabad to the PIC.

The PIC was constituted in accordance with Indus Waters Treaty which was inked by India and Pakistan in 1960. The treaty mandates the PIC to establish and maintain cooperative arrangements for the implementation of the treaty and to promote cooperation between the two sides in the development of the Indus water systems.

Pakistan has of late been raising objection to India's Ratle (850 MW), Pakal Dul (1000 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) hydro-electric projects – all located in the Chenab basin of Indus system. Pakistan has been arguing that the projects violated the IWT provisions. India, however, has been maintaining that designs of these projects were in sync with the treaty.

The IWT, which was signed on September 9, 1960, granted the control over the three "eastern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – to India, while control over the three "western rivers" – Indus, Chenab and Jhelum – to Pakistan. India, however, was given the right to use 20% of waters of the western rivers although they were put under control of Pakistan.

Though India could generate as much as 18600 MW of hydroelectricity from the western rivers, it could so far install projects with total capacity of 3034 MW. The projects, which are at present in different stages of construction, will have total capacity of 2526 MW. Besides, projects with total capacity of generating 5846 MW, are also in advanced stages of approvals.

The IWT gives India the right to construct 3.6 million acre feet of storage facilities on the western rivers put under control of Pakistan. India however did not build any storage facility so far.

Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said that the Government would stop the Indian share of water flowing to Pakistan through Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. He said that water of the three rivers would be diverted to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.