Delegation leaves for Pak to take part in Indus commission meet
New Delhi: A 10-member Indian delegation on Sunday left for Pakistan to take part in the meeting of Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) beginning on Monday in Islamabad.
The delegation comprises India’s Indus Water Commissioner P K Saxena, ministry of external affairs officials and technical experts. Speaking to PTI, a government source said India is “always open” to discuss and resolve concerns Pakistan have over its projects under Indus Water Treaty (IWT) bilaterally.
The source, however, reiterated that there will be “no compromise” on India exploiting its due rights under the 57-year-old pact. However, the agenda for the meeting, taking place nearly six months after India decided to suspend talks on the pact in the wake of the Uri attack is yet to be finalised.
Asked whether the delay in reaching consensus over agenda for the meeting will leave little time to resolve issues, the source replied in negative. “We always go into such meetings with optimistic mindset. In the past too, there had been delays in finalising agenda for the meeting, yet solutions were achieved,” the source added.
To drive the point, the source recalled how Pakistan’s concern over India’s Uri-II and Chutak hydroelectric projects were resolved seven years ago through discussions.
Pakistan had raised objections over designs of 240 MW Uri-II and 44 MW Chutak projects, built in Baramulla and Kargil districts of Jammu and Kashmir respectively, saying these will deprive it of its water share under the pact.
However, at a meeting held here in May 2010, the neighbouring country withdrew objections after Indian side provided details of these. Similarly, Pakistan has been flagging concern over designs of India’s five other hydroelectricity projects — Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) — being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty.
It had approached the World Bank, the mediator between the two countries of the 57-year-old water distribution treaty, in August last year raising issues over Kishanganga and Ratle projects in Jammu and Kashmir.
While there is no clarity yet whether issues relating to these two projects will figure during the meet as they are before the Bank, the source said Pakal Dul, Miyar and Lower Kalnai may be discussed.
According to Pakistan, designs of the three projects are not in line with the treaty, whereas India has maintained otherwise. The three projects, being built on tributaries of Chenab river, are in the pre-construction/under-construction stages.