Pakistan-India water talks this month could stall

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New Delhi’s obstinacy over water disputes between Pakistan and India continues after a month has passed without replying to a letter from Islamabad.

A meeting of water experts from both sides is due to take place in New Delhi this month, but now it looks like the talks will be delayed.

A three-day meeting of water experts from both countries took place in Islamabad on March 1st.

According to sources, at that meeting it was agreed to hold talks in New Delhi in May.

The Indus Water Commission will soon write a second letter to its Indian counterpart to call for a meeting.

Islamabad has objected to New Delhi’s plans to build projects on the Chenab River in India’s illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), the sources added.

The sources said India has also approved the launch of illegal water projects on the Indus River.

India’s construction of water projects will reduce water flow in Pakistan’s rivers.

In March, following the 117th meeting of the India-Pakistan Indus Permanent Commission, Islamabad and New Delhi reaffirmed the implementation of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

In accordance with the relevant provisions of the IWT 1960, the meeting takes place annually alternately in Pakistan and India.

The 10-member delegation from New Delhi was led by India’s Indus Waters Commissioner PK Saxena, while the Islamabad delegation was led by Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commissioner Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah.

Pakistan had repeated its observations on the Kiru Hydroelectric Project (HEP) upstream of the Chenab River. Pakistan’s position on the controversial project was that the project’s design could affect the flow of the Chenab River in Pakistan. This will have a direct impact on agricultural land adjacent to Head Marala, a large reservoir near Sialkot. Islamabad also objected to New Delhi’s new small run-of-river power plants on western rivers.

“Response to Pakistan’s objections to Indian projects including Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai was also sought,” the communiqué issued after the meeting said.

The Indian side was also requested to submit advance information on flood flows, in accordance with the terms of the treaty and common practice from 1989 to 2018.

“Both sides reiterated their commitment to implement the Indus-Water Treaty in its true spirit and expressed hope that the next meeting of the commission will take place in India at an early stage,” she added.

India has categorically dismissed Pakistan’s concerns about providing data on the flow of the eastern Ravi, Satluj and Beas rivers under the 1989 Data Sharing Agreement.

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