South Asia: Pakistan ,India officials to discuss contentious water issues

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A delegation led by Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner has reached Indian capital, New Delhi to attend a meeting of the Indus Water Commissioners on March 23 and 24 to discuss trans-boundary waters issues especially four contentious hydel power projects being executed by New Delhi in Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir region.
This will be the first meeting in over two years as the corona pandemic and the estranged ties between the two countries after the abrogation of special status of disputed Himalayan territory, Jammu and Kashmir by India on August 5, 2019 barred holding of this annual meet.
“Pakistan will present its objections over India’s contentious water projects on Chenab river besides discussing other issues,” Indus Water Commissioner, Syed Mehr Ali Shah told media men before his departure for India via Wagha border, some 27 kilometres from eastern city of Lahore.
“We will not budge a single inch from our stance with regard to four contentious Indian hydro electric projects including Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai over River Chenab,” Shah said.
In the previous round of talks in Lahore in August 2018, officials from both the countries had failed to gain any progress over the river water dispute and the talks had ended in a stalemate.
The Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was formed under the Indus Water Treaty in 1960 which includes Indus commissioners of both the countries.
The treaty specifies that the waters of three eastern rivers namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, had been reserved for India whereas western rivers, namely Indus, Chenab and Jhelum, are for Pakistan.
The conundrum arises on the Indian claims that it has unrestricted rights to develop hydroelectric power projects on the western rivers.

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