Pak-India talks on five hydro projects in Kashmir today

187

Indus Waters Treaty

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

An Indian delegation consisting of nine members arrived in Pakistan on Sunday to attend the 113th Permanent Indus Commission meeting which will be held in Islamabad today.
Both countries are expected to discuss their issues with five hydroelectric projects during the meeting, which will be a two-day affair.
Indian media said the key problem from the Indian side would be to resolve differences over the Kishenganga and Ratle hydro power projects that are being constructed on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers, respectively. Pakistan has been opposing both projects saying that they violate the provisions of the treaty. Conflict increased when Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to block the flow of water into Pakistan. However, India has maintained that it never reduced the water flow to Pakistan.
Pakistan has firmly stated that changes or altercations to the Treaty would not be accepted. India had earlier said that it was ready to engage in further discussions with the neighbouring country over resolving the current differences over the two hydro power projects under the treaty. However, Pakistan has argued that India was buying time to complete both projects and when they were completed, India insisted that it could not be modified.
Pakistan has consistently objected to the design of the Kishenganga project (330-MW) saying that the construction of the plant would lead to a 40 per cent reduction in the water that flows into the country, thereby violating the provisions of the treaty. As far as the Ratle power plant project (850-MW) is concerned, Pakistan wants India to reduce the planned storage capacity of the project from 24 million cubic metres to eight million cubic metres. It also wants india to reduce the height of the dams.
The Pakistani side is expected to raise issues related to three dams, Pakuldul (1000 MW) on Chenab, Miyar (120 MW) located across Miyar Nalla, a right bank main tributary of the Chenab River, and Lower Kalnai hydro project (43 MW), a tributary of Chenab. Both India and Pakistan seem to have left it to the experts to resolve technical issues related to water-sharing.
Press Trust of India, quoting its government source, claimed: “India is ‘always open’ to discuss and resolve concerns Pakistan have over its projects under Indus Water Treaty (IWT) bilaterally.”
World Bank had earlier asked both the countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements over the Indus Water Treaty 1960.
The World Bank had said that it was temporarily halting the appointment of a neutral expert as requested by India, and the Chairman of the Court of Arbitration, as requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues regarding two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus Rivers system.
The treaty which was signed in 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan President Ayub Khan gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus basin, the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej, while Pakistan has the three western rivers, the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum.