Pakistan, India set to hold talks on water issues in Delhi today

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ISLAMABAD – Pakistan, and India will hold the annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission in New Delhi, starting today, after a gap of over two years.

This comes a month after both the countries released a rare joint-statement on maintaining peace along the Line of Control – the de-facto border – and other sectors.

An eight-member delegation of Pakistan’s Indus Waters Commission left for India today through the Wagah border to take part in a two-day meeting on lingering water issues.

The Pakistani delegation is led by Indus Waters Commissioner, Syed Mehr Ali Shah, which would hold talks with the Indian delegation in New Delhi on March 23 and 24. Talking about the possible meeting on water issues, Shah said the controversial hydropower projects on the Chenab River would be discussed with India.

The Chenab River is among three western rivers whose water rights are exclusively given to Pakistan, out of six rivers jointly shared by the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

He said the controversial projects being planned or built by India, included Pakal Dal, Lower Kalnai, Darbak, and Nemo Chaling. The Indian side would be led by P. K. Saxena to review various objections being raised by Pakistan under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

The construction of the controversial Pakal Dul Dam is currently underway on a tributary of the River Chenab by the Indian authorities in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir. Among others, the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai projects would hurt the flow of water downstream towards Pakistan.